By Justina Auta
The Federal Government on Friday highlighted the need to ensure promotion and protection of children’s rights in the digital space to avoid negative threats.
Mrs Monilola Udoh, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs (FMoWA), said this while commemorating the International Day of the African Child in Abuja.
Udoh, speaking on the 2023 theme, ” The Rights of the Child in the digital Environment”, said it was an opportunity for stakeholders to examine the pros and cons of exposing children to digital world.
She said the digital environment had exposed children to a lot of things, hence the need to implement proper mechanisms of protection and monitoring that would make them less susceptible to online attacks and harm.
” Children’s rights require effective framework for interventions, and consultation, with evidence-based policy development that considers trends in society and in technology and recent happenings in today world and the impact on children.
“It is critical to highlight that all relevant stakeholders have a role to play in ensuring the promotion and protection of children’s right in the digital space.
“I, therefore, call on our dear children to use the internet wisely to avoid cyberbullying, exploitation, abuse and online grooming for negative vices such as pornography, cultism, amongst others,” she said.
Also, Mrs Uduak Umosu, representing the FCT Education Secretariat, encouraged parents and caregivers to monitor the contents on social media that there children are exposed to.
Mr Ammanuel Mamo, Director, Advocacy, Campaign, Communication and Media, Save the Children International Nigeria, stressed the need for formulation and implementation of policies to tackle online violations of children’s rights.
“Unsafe use of the internet and the digital environment may expose children to risks, unless managed properly, can undermine their protection, learning, mental and social well-being.
“As the rapid take-up of digital technologies and social media by Africa’s children and young
people continue, it is crucial to adopt an approach that minimises the risks.
“This is without restricting the considerable opportunities and benefits digital technologies and social media have to offer,” he said.
He also stressed the need to ensure participation of children in decision-making processes using digital technologies presented in a child-friendly formats.
Mrs Sharon Oladiji, Child’s Protection Specialist, UNICEF, stressed the need for all to ensure the rights of children in the digital environment was protected against bullying, exploitation, abuse and other negative vices.
Oladiji, added that UNICEF had initiated programmes using digital technology to help out of school children, track their activities, make available services for birth registration, amongst others.
Meanwhile, Speaker, FCT Children’s Parliament, Miss Rahama Waziri, urged the government and stakeholders to ensure the rights of children were promoted and protected in every decision making.
Waziri stressed the need for all children, irrespective of their location to have access to information, education, safety from abuse, rights to freedom of expression and to be heard.
Other activities to mark the day included Quiz competition amongst FCT schools, different presentations on the rights of children, digital space and others. (NAN)