The Safe Online Forum held on Thursday 30th May 2019 at NG_Hub located at 8, Montgomery Road, Sabo, Yaba, Lagos. The forum organized by Re:learn, the Education practice at CcHUB (Co-Creation Hub) in partnership with Junior Achievement Nigeria and Facebook. The forum was aimed at bringing together important education and digital security stakeholders such as Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA) to discuss ways of promoting and ensuring online safety for the youth in Nigeria.
Ms. Nissi Madu, the Programme Manager, Re:learn while delivering the welcome address noted that following the increase in the number of youth online which accounts for about 92.3 million subscribers (51.27% of our total population in Nigeria), the forum was necessary to ensure Nigerian youth acquire digital safety skills. The young people are becoming increasingly digitally-literate. So many of them have coding, programming and other skills, as a result of which there is a great need to empower them with the skills to stay safe online.
Mr. Phil Odur, Programme Manager for Facebook’s Digital Literacy Programmes in Nigeria gave a presentation on policies, tools and resources used by Facebook to make customers feel safe online. He said that while people use Facebook to connect and communicate with friends, colleagues etc., they need to feel safe using it. Highlighting the repercussions for violating the safe use of Facebook, he said that some organisations and individuals have been banned for hate speech and stirring up violence. He also said that Facebook has created an online learning resource (Digital Literacy Library) to help young people better navigate the Internet in a positive and responsible way. The URL https://.facebook.com/safety provided more information on safety online.
A presentation on “What is the Internet” was made by Miss Madu who highlighted the risks of using the Internet to include exposure to online predators, exposure to internet scammers like hackers, identity theft, fake news etc. She noted that a study carried out on the online habits of young people revealed that most young people do not know how to keep safe when online. She concluded by emphasizing the urgent need to address the issue of online safety for young people.
Two educators from the Safe Online Program discussed on Privacy, stating that Privacy is the ability to control what other people know about you. Online security tips that were highlighted include the need to install antivirus, how to confirm authentic URL, why users should not download or install an unverifiable software and sharing of passwords in unsafe spaces.
NiRA advocated for the need to use local content like the .ng domain name to ensure safety and management of users in cyberspace.