On the occasion of the 2021 Safer Internet Day, leading Information and Communication Technology company, ipNX Nigeria, has called for collaboration amongst all relevant stakeholders towards attaining a safer and better internet in Nigeria and across the world.
Safer Internet Day is celebrated every second Tuesday in February to raise awareness on emerging online issues and concerns. It aims to create a safer and better internet, where everyone is empowered to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically, and creatively. This year marks the 18th edition of the day with the theme “Together for a better internet.”
In Nigeria, online threats range from phishing, bank verification number scams, fraudulent emails, hacking, spamming, attack on public Wi-Fi, business email compromise, cyber harassment, cyberbullying, catfishing, cyber predation of children amongst others. A 2019 UNICEF poll shows that more than a third of young people in 30 countries reported being a victim of online bullying, and according to the report, online threat is on the rise. In the same vein, the Nigeria Consumer Awareness and Financial Enlightenment Initiative (NCAFEI) projected a US$6 trillion loss to cybercrime within and outside Nigeria by 2030.
“Everyone has a role to play in achieving a safer and better internet for all. Parents and guardians need to act as digital role models for their children and wards and have honest conversations about positive internet usage. Young people need to be civil in their interactions and observe the rules of online safety.
“Also, corporate organisations need to educate their staff and partners on safe communication and online practices such as proper digital hygiene in all correspondence to avoid information compromise, not opening email attachments from unknown parties, and the security of their devices and terminals. Overall, there is a need to equip people with digital literacy skills, empower them to make the right choices online, and promote positive content,” said Oluwaseun Oluboyo, the chief technology architect, ipNX Nigeria, while speaking on the need for purposeful collaboration to address cyber issues in Nigeria.
Oluboyo, noted that now is the time, especially due to the deepening internet penetration and the growing number of young people on the Internet. On tips to stay safe on the web, he said, “There are many things people need to do to stay safe online. Chief among these is keeping private and personal information out of the public domain as much as possible. It is equally important that all Internet users secure their network connections and keep their privacy settings on. They should steer clear of open Wi-Fi networks that could be harvesting their data.”
According to him, another worrying phenomenon is that the global pandemic might have created a fertile ground for catfishing, where people with evil intentions capitalise on increased physical separation to stalk and target innocent web users with fictional personas. “Therefore, users must be cautious and vigilant when meeting people online. Similarly, reports of online predation are on the rise. Parents, guardians and caregivers are encouraged to protect kids by monitoring their online activities and improving their digital literacy skills to quickly spot predation. Lastly, on social media communities, interactions should be respectful at all times, and participants should be mindful that shared content can have very long lifetimes and future consequences,” he said.
Oluboyo called on policymakers to address the issue at policy level by ensuring that cybercrime laws are constantly updated and adequately enforced.