There is no doubt that the emergence of the dreaded COVID-19 in the world, has caused a lot of changes in the way we do things.
Long periods of lockdowns and social distancing have caused many businesses and organisations to close shop for long periods.
Schools have, also, been shut for more than 3 months now, leaving pupils and students, from nursery schools, up to tertiary institutions, having to stay at home for that period.
Many schools, however, devised means of continuing the process of imparting knowledge to these pupils and students, via online means.
This meant that these young people are compelled to spend more time at home, some time alone, operating in the internet space, all by themselves.
“The impact of COVID-19 pandemic has brought to bear a shift in the norms, putting more activities, including education of children, online. This has leapfrogged Nigerian children into the future.
Online activities have acquired new meaning and become the reality of Nigerian parents and children.
Screen time and screen activities are the new normal”, noted a document, advising parents on how to keep their children safe, online by the NCC and Cece Yara Foundation.
“Parents are constantly searching for online learning platforms, TV stations are providing more child-based educational content and schools are teaching via Zoom, Google Classroom and YouTube.
Cyberspace, the internet and online activities are here to stay. The future has arrived, welcome!!!”, stressed the document from NCC and Cece Yara Foundation.
The document, also noted that the fusion of children and the internet has now given birth to new concerns as is widely perceived.
It has magnified the critical need for parents and caregivers to step up to the new norms of online life for children.
Children may be led astray, if left unrestricted, surfing the internet.
There is, therefore, the need for online parenting, giving the parents the opportunity of guiding their children and ward online.
“Parents have to contend with the overwhelming and scary possibility of a child being hurt, by faceless individuals, while surfing the internet and a perceived inability/incapability to protect the child.
The good news is that, the internet is not all gloom and doom. The internet is a world of endless possibilities waiting to be explored by young, adventurous and impressionable minds.
Undoubtedly, there are many great ways children can use connected devices to learn and play, but there are also risks.
With the right tools and strategy, parents and caregivers have the opportunity to support and guide children to avoid online risks and have safer experiences”, noted the document.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant change in mode of operation has compelled all stakeholders, parents, caregivers, governments and industry players, to actively pursue, create and promote a safe online environment for children.
This covers what to do, before things go wrong, while children spend time online and what to do, if things go wrong.
This document serves as a guide that will help Parents and Carers/Guardians, to monitor their children and wards online and prevent them from coming to any harm, during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
We shall bring you these tips, in subsequent publications on this platform.
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