By Etuka Sunday
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), yesterday said it is finalising the internet industry code of practice to protect children and minors online.
Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta disclosed this at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) joint workshop on Child Online Protection in Abuja.
Danbatta said, the code of practice will define the rights and obligations of internet access service providers in handling offensive contents.
”The internet industry code of practice with regards to outlining the obligations of internet access service providers in handling potentially harmful content with emphasis on the protection of minors and vulnerable audiences online,” he said.
He said the internet has become an indispensable element of everyday life and children are not excluded.
” The internet is a neutral tool with its advantages and disadvantages, even though it provides many opportunities for children. It also exposes them to potentially negative contents, ”he said.
He added it was important to implement strategic measures for a safer internet, especially for children because children and youths were the most active online.
‘ ‘ It is important to create and implement strategic measures for a safer internet for children and youths because they are the most active participants online, especially on the social media.
” This makes them potential target and victims of improperly disseminated information and negative content, ” he said.
Danbatta stated NCC would leverage on evolving global technologies and practices in the cyberspace to achieve its target of protecting Nigerian children online.
He also said the commission plans to introduce sensitisation and awareness project on how parents can protect their children online.
”The upcoming campaign will among others promote regional awareness on a secured cyberspace by incorporating local languages and cultural norms. It will also increase the understanding of child online safety among government, industry educators and civil society organisations, ” he said.
Earlier in his Welcome Address, the President of DBI, Abuja, Prof. Mohammed Ajiya promised continued partnership with local and international stakeholders in Information Communication and Technology (ICT) sector to fight cyber terrorism against children.
“ We would continue to partner with the public and private sector, to protect children from abuse and develop them to fight for their rights in the context of ICT.
“ This partnership will further endorse the recommendations reached during a UN General Assembly of December 21, 2001.
“ The stakeholders meeting is at aimed at protecting children online,’’ he said.
The one day workshop was organised by DBI in partnership with ITU, a specialised agency of the United nations, responsible for issues concerning ICT, with the headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
DBI dwells in training people on communication and information communication technology (ICT).
Ajiya said that as a capacity building institute, DBI was working with experts, industry players, government regulators and law enforcement agencies to explore ideas on tackling cybercrimes.