NCC Provides Tips for Parents, Guardians On Children Cyber Safety

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has called on parents and guardians in the country to caution children and wards in order to protect them from all forms of cybercrimes.

The telecom industry regulatory authority made the call on Monday as part of its sensitization efforts to ensure cyber safety for the children and wards to mark this year’s Children’s Day on May 27, 2024.

Consequently, the commission released tips and guidelines for parents and guardians to adopt to keep children safe online.

The NCC outlines guidelines to children, wards on cyber safety are as follows: Do not share your personal information such as Name, Phone Number, Pictures, Address, or School Name with strangers online; and Keep your identity safe and secure; Always use your phone or device where people or parents can see you, it helps to keep you safe and builds your parents’ trust in you.

Others tips and guidelines include: Do not click on any pop-ups, links from websites, or messages while gaming online, they could take you to risky websites that might compromise your personal information; Stop and think before you click to connect; and the final counsel, which is Stay Cybersafe

NCC highlighted the children can become victims of cybercrimes such as cyberbullying, online grooming, access to inappropriate content, and scams, hence sensitizing of parents and guardians with the knowledge to help them supervise their children’s online activity.

It stated: “With many websites offering harmful content for children, searching for new sites should always be done with a parental guardian. The internet has a variety of information which can be both good and bad, to avoid your child using search engines, bookmark the websites they should use and show them how to access these bookmarks independently.”

NCC advised parents and guardians to make sure the children in their care aware that they should never share their real name, age, personal pictures or videos, home address, school address, or current location online or with strangers they interact with online, as cybercriminals can use this information to target them.

The industry regulator stated that by ensuring the devices children use are in a public area of the home, parents and guardians can periodically check on the online activity of their child, to assess how their online experiences are affecting them. This can also help foster ongoing conversations and openness about your child’s online activities.

The NCC thereby charged parents and guardians to periodically check their children’s browsing history to make sure they are following their online activity, stressing that “a harmful piece of content that they may have accidentally stumbled upon, can create damaging effects that they are keeping from parents. Where parents find something concerning, use this as an opportunity to discuss why what they have visited is unsafe.”

According to the Commission, knowing who children are talking to online is another critical observation that parents and guardians should maintain, adding that “online grooming is a common issue associated with instant messaging services. Ensure your child only interacts with individuals you know, so that you create a safe network for your child to learn and grow online. Ask your children about who they interact with and become a friend, follower or subscriber to supervise their network of online friends.”

NCC also encouraged parents, and guardians cautioning them to close inappropriate windows and tabs, noting that “When something inappropriate comes on screen, encourage your children to immediately close the tab or window and inform you of whatever they have seen. Inform your children that when you visit the wrong sites, other windows and tabs with ‘yucky’ content can popup, encourage them to immediately close what they find.”

The regulatory authority emphasized that “Limiting the time children spend online is another cyber safety caution. Spending longer than reasonable periods on a device is unhealthy for children. According to research from OSF Health Care, more than 2 hours for leisure using devices can lead to children developing various health issues. Limit your children’s time using internet-connected devices to the bare minimum, and encourage other constructive extracurricular activities such as outdoor sports.”

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