Reps back bill on online child access protection rights

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The House of Representatives on Thursday backed a bill for an act to provide for  enactment of Child Online Access Protection and other violence against children, by passing through the  second reading.

Rep. Olumide Osoba (APC-Ogun) who sponsored the bill, said in his argument during plenary in Abuja that he was deeply concerned about the safety of Nigerian children in the digital age
He added that, in the face of technological advancements, children encounter unprecedented risks online.
“The Child Online Access Protection Bill (2023) which am sponsoring is a pivotal initiative to shield the Nigerian child from the perils of online violence and exploitation.”
He said raising children in the era of the internet had become an enduring task., adding that the threat of violence had escalated, affecting 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.”
According to him, the internet has become a breeding ground for threats to children.
He said the absence of mandates to sensitise and enlighten parents, the government, and the public on the alarming increase in child abuse, due to online activities, called for a robust legislative intervention.
“We cannot afford to underestimate the impact of the internet on our children, and every child has the right to be protected from abuse, exploitation, and violence, stemming from cyberbullying and cyberextortion,” he said.
Others, he added, include identity theft, drug trafficking, phishing, and other forms of online abuse.
He said the nation’s child protection systems must be extensive and robust, ensuring the well-being and safety of children.
Olumide said the bill necessitated a collaborative effort from stakeholders, including legislators, clergymen, parents, and the police force, among others.
The lawmakers unanimously supported his argument, and the bill was passed for a second reading.

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