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Reps move to protect children from online violence

A law to protect children from online violence is underway following the passage of a bill for a second reading by the House of Representatives…

A law to protect children from online violence is underway following the passage of a bill for a second reading by the House of Representatives on Thursday.

Titled, “A bill for an act to provide for the enactment of child online access protection 2023 and other issues of online violence against the Nigerian child,” the proposed law seeks among others to secure the digital future of Nigeria’s youth and ensure a safer online environment.

Leading the debate on the bill on the floor of the House at Thursday’s plenary, the sponsor of the bill and member representing Abeokuta North/Obafemi-Owode/Odeda Federal Constituency, Ogun State, Olumide Osoba, expressed concern over the capacity of unstrained internet to damage the health of the Nigerian child.

Addressing his colleagues, the lawmaker said, “I stand before you today not just as a legislator but as a parent deeply concerned about the safety of our children in the digital age. In the face of technological advancements, our children encounter unprecedented risks online. The Child Online Access Protection Bill (2023), which I sponsor, is a pivotal initiative to shield the Nigerian child from the perils of online violence and exploitation.

“Raising our children in this era of the internet has become an enduring task. The threat of violence has escalated, affecting our children physically, sexually, and psychologically. While we acknowledge the significance of the Nigeria Data Protection Act signed into law on June 12, 2023, it is crucial to recognise the specific vulnerabilities children face in the digital space.”

He said, “The internet has become a breeding ground for threats to our children, and the absence of mandates to sensitise and enlighten parents, government, and the public on the alarming increase in child abuse due to online activities calls for a robust legislative intervention. We cannot afford to underestimate the impact of the internet on our children.

“Every child has the right to be protected from abuse, exploitation, and violence stemming from cyberbullying, cyber-extortion, identity theft, drug trafficking, phishing, and other forms of online abuse. Our child protection systems must be extensive and robust, ensuring the well-being and safety of our children.”

 

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