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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

AISA tasks stakeholders on safe internet culture among children

Stakeholders in the nation’s Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have been tasked on promotion of safe Internet culture among Nigerian children and young people.

This, they said would be done by making it a national priority of the African government towards the establishment of an African Children Cyber Safety Initiative (ACCSI).

A Lagos-based industry non-governmental organisation, the African Information Security Association (AISA) made this call at the end of its one-day forum on the theme of this year’s commemoration of the World Information Society Day (WISD) 2009 in Lagos, recently.

A communiqué made available to ITRealms Online from AISA, charged stakeholders to sustain collaborative efforts towards promoting a safe Internet culture among children and young people on the continent.

The forum also urged all stakeholders to give it serious consideration so as to help stem the tide of dangers that children and young people are exposed to online, observing that through massive internet awareness campaign targeted particularly at parents, educators and counsellors, this could be achieved.

While calling on children, young persons, parents, educators to make it a point of duty to always participate in information security activities, AISA said, all concerned stakeholders need to help bridge the existing gap between the parents and children on one hand and the teachers and students on the other.

“This should be done with a view to providing the much needed avenue through which the activities of children and young people on the Internet can be monitored and controlled. Imperative to this is the need for parents and teachers to develop their IT skills,” part of the communiqué read.

In addition, AISA urged parents to take interest in the cyberspace activities of their children byway of installing relevant parental control software and appropriate online protection tools on their systems to help monitor and control what their children do online.

“Against the reality of ravaging moral decadence in the society, all stakeholders are called upon to join hands towards moral regeneration in the society. The much cherished cultural values of self-respect, respect for others and dignity must be restored in our society,” the group said.

The communiqué endorsed by the Convener of the forum and founder, AISA, Mr. Jide Awe, stressed the need for children and young people to adopt well established Internet etiquette (Netiquette) while online.

“Children and young people who patronize cybercafes should avoid and blacklist cybercafes where illegal online activities are condoned,” AISA advised, enjoining all professionals within the ICT industry to adopt self regulation mechanisms towards reducing the prevalence of unethical materials online.

Internet Service Providers (ISP), AISA noted, should be actively involved in promoting information security for children while carrying out their business.

“They should show more social responsibility by participating actively in forums and related initiatives of this nature. Their absence at today’s forum speaks volumes,” the group decried.

Equally, they called on African governments to enact legislation to give boost to appropriate Internet policing.

“Besides, the law enforcement agencies should be empowered to adequately deal with cybercrimes,” the group said, pointing out that rrelevant government agencies, by way of promoting public good, should live up to their regulatory responsibilities by guaranteeing that cybercafés and service providers enhance information security particularly for children going online.

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