7 February 2019

Sierra Leone: Call to Protect Children Online

Commissioner for the National Commission for Children (NCC) has urged the government through the Ministry of Information and Communications to consider including child online protection measures as they go about reviewing the National Telecommunications and Cyber Security Acts respectively.

According to Olayinka Laggah, the excessive and inappropriate use of the internet by children has now become a growing concern even though it is without any controversy that it is a good platform where children are privy to lots of information that can help them academically.

"The benefits of the internet are overwhelming but it can be a dangerous place to hang out if not managed properly. It has the tendency to destroy children and has started affecting them negatively in schools," she said.

On Tuesday February 5, 2019, Sierra Leone joined other countries around the world to commemorate this year's 'Safer Internet Day' to raise awareness, especially for young users in the responsible use of the digital space.

Madam Laggah commended the information ministry for prioritising children on this year's safer internet day celebration and urged that such be replicated in other parts of the country.

"Children are naïve and lack knowledge about online privacy and security. They need to know what to share and what not to share. Protecting children online is accepted to be a global challenge but some countries have come up with regulations to protect children online," she stated.

While expressing her delight that the need to have a safer internet for children has cut the attention of the Ministry of Information and Communications, the NCC Commissioner pledged to provide whatever support that will be required to ensure that the initiative grows and succeed.

She, however, urged the ministry to find ways of engaging parents as well, because they have the primary responsibility to care and protect their children.

"As you are currently working in reviewing the telecoms and cyber security Acts, I am asking that consideration be given to include child online protection measures," she urged.

Sierra Leone

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