By Juliet Umeh
Despite all campaigns against child abuse online, children have remained most vulnerable and easily attacked online.
Most homes have been wrecked due to valuable information cyber criminals extracted from hapless and innocent children online.
Although several advocacy groups have outlined several measures to curb this deadly and unwholesome menace, the onslaught has continued unabated.
Reasons are that most of the tips are either too technical, very elitist or many parents are so tech naive to comprehend them.
However, apparently to save the Nigerian child, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has come up with a simplified outline of what parents should look out for and what to do to protect their wards online.
These include: Parents building trust by keeping communication open and supportive.
According to NCC, “Your child knows they can come to you if something goes wrong or does not feel right online. So watch television, play games and enjoy digital platforms with your children.
“Discuss online opportunities, entertainment, learning and risks. Be the parent, offline and online, by setting limits, controls and standards.
Set time limits for all activities, including online activities. Balance screen time with other activities. Set location for device use. Where possible, use desktops not mobile devices. Keep devices away from private locations like bedrooms.
“Set up parental controls and filters for harmful content. Also, have clear agreements on online activities. Be alert to signs of distress or problems,” the regulatory body advised.
It also advised that parents should make sure they children understand the ‘SMART
Rules’ which stand for
*S: Safe- Do not give out personal information when chatting or uploading online. Personal information includes your email address, phone number and passwords.
*M: Meeting- Meeting someone you have only been chatting with online can be unsafe.
*A: Accepting- Accepting emails, IM messages, or opening files, pictures
or text messages from people you dont know or trust can lead to problems; they may contain viruses or horrible messages.
*R: Reliable- Someone online might lie about who they are and the information on the internet may not be true. Always check information with other websites, books or someone who is knowledgeable. If you like chatting online it’s best to only chat with real world friends and family.
*T: Tell- Tell your parent or trusted adult if someone or something makes you feel uncomfortable or worried, or if you or someone you know is being bullied online.
NCC therefore advised that parents must lead by example by using devices responsibly.
It said: “Show respect in your online platform language and content. Help your child to develop digital intelligence and social and emotional skills such as respect, empathy, critical thinking and resilience. Help your child practice and become a responsible online citizen.”