Legal Nigeria

Speaker Abbas urges urgent measures to protect children on internet

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, has stressed that measures must urgently be adopted to ensure the protection of children on the internet.

The speaker called on parents to do everything possible to ensure that their children are protected.

Abbas said this while making his address at the opening of a public hearing on the Bill for an Act to Provide for Enactment of Child Online Access Protection Bill 2023 and other Issues of Online Violence against Nigerian Children and other Related Matters at the National Assembly Complex on Tuesday.

Represented by the Chief Whip, Hon Usman Bello Kumo, the speaker said the Bill was straightforward and seeks legislation to ensure all hands are on deck in protecting the child from being harmed.

He said: “The protection of children on the internet cannot be overemphasized because we are in a digital world. We must key into global best practices and our children must not be exposed to an extent where some people take advantage of them in abuse them.”

The chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Justice, Olumide Osoba, also said it was expedient that the safety and wellbeing of children on the internet are protected as a matter of urgency.

He said: “The safety and well-being of our children in this digital age should be our utmost priority, and I commend your efforts to address the issue of online violence and protect our young ones from its harmful effects.

“The internet has undoubtedly revolutionized our society, connecting people from all works of life and providing countless opportunities for learning, growth and entertainment.

“However, it also brings with it risk, particularly for the vulnerable minds of the online world have unfortunately given rise to various forms of violence, including cyberbullying, harassment, and even exploitation.

“As responsible members of this society, it is our duty to ensure that our children are shielded from such harm.”

He said the proposed Bill not only acknowledges the potential danger online violence poses to the youth but also aims to put effective measures in place to prevent and address such incidents.

“By setting up regulations to restrict access to harmful content, imposing stricter penalties for perpetrators, and promoting digital literacy programs, we can create a safer online environment for our children to explore and thrive in,” he said.

The lawmaker said it was worth noting that the Bill not only focuses on protection but also embraces the importance of fostering responsible digital citizenship.

“By empowering our children with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the online world safely we can actively engage them in their own protection.

“This Bill’s foresight in including educational initiatives demonstrates an understanding that prevention and awareness are equally essential components in countering online violence.

“Moreover, this Bill recognizes the need for a collaborative effort between parents, educators, internet service providers and the government.

“By ensuring a holistic approach to the issue, we can collectively work towards an internet culture that promotes empathy, respect, and understanding, rather than one that fosters violence and harm,” he said.

He said by adopting the Bill, “We will not only safeguard our children’s wellbeing but also create a safer and more inclusive online space for all.”

Source: The nation