Dame Patience: Championing On-Line Protection of Our Children

Dame Jonathan

Dame Jonathan

By Silas Eze
The Internet allows individuals of all ages to reach new and larger information databases and provides opportunities to work more efficiently by using computer-based tools and applications.
We live in a knowledge society and in today’s digital age, an important demographic group, children, are growing up accessing the internet at an increasingly younger age. The internet has undoubtedly become an integral part of their lives and of today’s youth culture, where schoolwork, online gaming, and social networking are among the most popular activities of this group.
But along with the convenience, fun and the fascination of cyber space comes very real and potential threats – This has been described as the dark side of the internet. This is an aspect of the World Wide Web (www) that we must protect our children from.
Recently, renewed attention was given to the issue of cyber child protection when the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, who is a passionate advocate of women and children’s wellbeing, was made the Global Child Online Protection Champion by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Threats (IMPACT).
In accepting the position of Global Child Online Protection Champion, the First Lady commended the ITU-IMPACT for their determination to protect innocent children and youths around the world from exposure to various forms of online abuses. She maintained that it is a sacred duty to protect children and youth in line with the global UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Child’s Rights Act of 2003.
The First Lady welcomed the plans of ITU-IMPACT to build a partnership of various sectors of the global community, particularly among the 193 member countries of the International Telecommunication Union, for the purpose of developing strategies for the control of access to, and the use of the World Wide Web to control cyber insecurity for children and youths.
Parents and guardians, especially mothers, according to Dame Jonathan should endeavour to show more interest in monitoring and controlling the engagements of their children and wards on the internet.
This appeal to parents and guardians by the First Lady is pertinent considering the fact that vulnerable groups, such as children, if not properly educated, sensitized and monitored can easily fall prey to the danger of cyber fraudsters and predators.
US President, Barak Obama, in a recent address on security noted that cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges and that economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on cyber security.
Apart from the Child Online Protection initiative, ITU and IMPACT are looking at the possibility of setting up a Cyber Security Regional Centre in Nigeria which will play an essential role in supporting the expansion of ITU-IMPACT’s network globally by localizing cyber security services to meet the unique needs of the region. Nigeria has indicated interest and intent to host the Regional Centre under the ITU-IMPACT framework.
The importance of the Child Online Protection initiative that Dame Patience is championing is of upmost importance. Every parent should endeavour to create a culture of security that will enhance their child’s knowledge while protecting them from the negative contents on the internet and those who search the net to look for easy preys.
Silas Eze is a youth champion and public commentator.

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