Reps want children protected from internet abuse

The House of Representatives has harped on the need to put measures in place to protect children from harmful exposure to the internet.

The Chairman, House Committee on Justice, Olumide Osoba, stated this on Tuesday while declaring open 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 Child and other Source Matters.

He said, “The safety and wellbeing 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 walks 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 who have unfortunately given rise to various forms of violence, including cyber bullying, harassment, and even exploitation.

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

The bill, according to him, not only highlights the threat to children’s safety owing to online violence but also aims to entrench measures to safeguard 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.

“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 recognizes the need for 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 maintained that by adopting the bill, “We will not only safeguard our children’s wellbeing but we will also create a safer and more inclusive online space for all.”

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Abbas Tajudeen, enjoined parents to go the whole distance to protect their children.

Represented by the Chief Whip, Usman Kumo, Mr Abbas described the bill as a significant piece of legislation saying,

“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 abusing them,” he said.

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