Nations are presently grappling with the impact of COVID-19, including the fact that young people are compelled to spend more time at home which implies more screen time (offline and online). The impact of COVID-19 pandemic has brought to bear a shift in the norms,putting more activities, including education of children, online. This has leapfrogged Nigerian children into the future. Online activities have acquired new meaning and become the reality of Nigerian parents and children. Screen time and screen activities are the new normal. Parents are constantly searching for online learning platforms, TV stations are providing more child-based educational content and schools are teaching via Zoom, Google Classroom and YouTube. Cyberspace, the internet and online activities are here to stay.
However, parents have to contend with the overwhelming and scary possibility of a child being hurt by faceless individuals while surfing the internet, and a perceived inability/incapability to protect the child. The good news is that the internet is not all gloom and doom. The internet is a world of endless possibilities waiting to be explored by young, adventurous and impressionable minds. Undoubtedly, there are many great ways children can use connected devices to learn and play, but there are also risks. Withthe right tools and strategy, parents and caregivers have the opportunity to support and guide children to avoid online risks and have safer experiences.
Here, we provide practical online safety tips for parents, care givers, and children. It covers what to do before things go wrong, while children spend time online, and what to do if things go wrong.The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has taken into consideration the International Edition of Europol COVID-19 Global Online Safety Advice for, Parents and Carers, and the ITU’s Keeping Children Safe Online during the COVID-19 Pandemic.This document serves as a guide that will help Parents and Carers/Guardians during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, and beyond.