Ndukwe Kalu Foundation (NKF), a non-for-profit organization aimed at promoting knowledge in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and proper use of the internet among the youth, has called for improved and equal physical and online protection of children.
The Foundation, speaking on the occasion of Children’s Day 2022, observes that the exponential growth of technology has created tremendous opportunities for children and young people globally; as it enables them to learn, share and communicate expressing themselves freely without inhibition or borders.
According to Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) statistics, as of March 2022, Nigeria has 145.9 million Internet users out of a population of 211.4 million.
With more subscribers having access to the Internet every day, Ndukwe Kalu Foundation (NKF) emphasized that it has become pertinent and necessary to address the technology in the lives of young Internet users, especially as groups actively involved in the SDGs 16.2 which calls for an end to abuse, exploitation, violence and torture against children by 2030.
Highlighting these points, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, the Chairperson of Ndukwe Kalu Foundation, called for stakeholders to combine efforts to facilitate continuous awareness and protection campaigns to protect children online.
She said that policies and other regulatory instruments should be accorded the same level of priority to both the physical and online safety of children.
Mrs. Odusote hinted that the Board of the Ndukwe Kalu Foundation has approved the Child Online Safety, Protection and Report Abuse (COSPRA) Mandate and “has identified among others collaborative ideas, signs and symptoms of online abuse through the use of the Internet and how best to deal with such situations; providing needed promotional awareness, guidance and support to children and affected young victims”.
“As part of achieving the COSPRA mandate, the Foundation is planning three key events; first, the Annual Online Child Safety and Protection Summit in collaboration with multi-stakeholder groups facilitating the exchange & circulation of information and preventive tools for best practices.
“Secondly, we are going to conduct ‘Train the Trainers’ Training Programme at the six (6) Geopolitical Zones in Nigeria to increase safe practice awareness in schools; and thirdly Promote open discussion, debates, events, programs etc., during conversations with key multi-stakeholders and partners globally”.
The Chairperson listed COSPRA’s mandate as “To ensure a safer and more secure online environment for children and youth; to participate in active campaigns between all stakeholders in knowledge and experience sharing; to encourage procedures for the improvement of legal regulations as well as self-regulation instruments towards Child Safety online; amongst others.
She added that the Foundation is positioned to promote safe activities on the Internet and how issues affecting the lives of its young users and the digital environment are protected.