Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has advised parents and caregivers to teach their children how to use the internet while in the Covid-19 induced lock down. The commission said parents should educate their children that there are things on the internet that may upset them.
In a report titled ‘Keeping Children Safe Online: Advice to parents and caregivers, the NCC said parents should build confidence to enable the children to confide in them on their activities online. “Make sure your child realizes that he or she should never give out personal details such as name, address, school, and telephone numbers to online friends they do not know in the real world. Tell the child to never respond to junk emails or open attachments that are from unknown sources. Be aware of any changes in the way a child uses the internet, such as the amount of time spent online. Also support your child to report bullying online, by contacting you immediately it occurs.
“Encourage children to use nicknames and login names that don’t reveal any personal information about them. Educate children on the possibility of people using fake names purposely to cheat, hurt, or impersonate others. Use the parental control settings on your browser, search engine, and internet security package.
“Work with your child to understand how search engines work so that they don’t stumble on inappropriate content. Consider using the filtering software that is available from your internet service provider or from retailers, these can help block inappropriate material. Check with your internet service provider to learn how to block sites you don’t want children to see. Gain the child’s or young person’s confidence by appealing to his or her interests, teach them to think twice before they upload or download anything online,” it said.
According to the NCC, parents, and caregivers should establish time limits around when and for how long the children can be online during non-school hours at home. It noted that parents should learn to use the available technologies — parental controls and other tools to monitor online time and set time limits on device use or internet access.
“Be honest and open about why you want to use these technologies. Turn off notifications for social media apps to help minimize distractions. Depending on your child’s age, you can establish a family tech agreement that balances time spent in front of screens with offline activities. You can find templates by searching online. Include ‘offline’ activities in your routine at home — this can include family exercise, reading time, or board games.”