The Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE, has admonished students of secondary schools to always display high level of responsibility whenever they are online, in other to be protected from cyber risks.

The Director General who was represented by NITDA’s Head, Digital Technology, Adoption, Digital Literacy and Skill Unit, Dr Ayodele Bakare, gave this advice in Abuja at this year’s inter-school debate organised by the Junior Chamber International, (JCI), and supported by the Agency. The topic for the debate was ‘Should Social Media Be Encouraged Among Secondary School Students?’

Mallam Abdullahi stated that, as secondary school students, using the internet facilities, it is expected of them to behave responsibly in order to be protected from psychological and physical risks that are common online.

According to the DG, some of the psychological risks the children could suffer from, if they are irresponsible online are; fear, low self-esteem, promiscuousness, violence, poor academic performance, among others. He added that; “among the physical risks you can experience online could be illness, injury, death, vandalization, and loss of finance.”

He stated further that, “your responsibilities online include; non-disclosure of personal information to strangers, avoidance of people or strangers that demand for too much information, turn down offer to meet online strangers, not opening of mails or files from unknown sources, and always inform parents or teachers whenever you feel concerned about strangers online.”

The DG advised children to limit the time they spend online in order not to affect other sphere of their lives, particularly their academic performance.

Mallam Abdullahi maintained that child online safety has become imperative in order to protect them from threats and risks because, children are easily influenced with online contents. He said, as government agency, NITDA will keep on with advocacy and capacity building on online safety for minors.

“Another way government is trying to protect children online is in the area of policy formulation, regulations and guideline on child online safety”, he said.

The President of JCI, Ajalat Aminat Aweke, said the aim of the debate is to discover another set of young lads among students in Federal Capital territory. She added that the topic for the debate captures the rave of the moment on the usage of social media among secondary school students. “The debate will form a robust discussion and form a framework for censorship,” she said.

About 10 Secondary Schools participated in this year’s debate where Government Secondary School Gwagwalada emerged first and was awarded with three laptops and 100,000 naira cash award.  Government Secondary School, Mabushi, emerged second and went away with 75,000 Naira, while Government Girls Secondary  School, Dutsen Alhaji, became the third winner and received 50,000 Naira award.

In the same vein, the Coordinator, National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotic, (NCAIR), Mr. Ya’u Garba Isah, stated that the use of robotic would help to avoid obstacle in computing programming. He expressed this view during the second day of JCI programme supported by NITDA.

He said, mentoring the students on technological innovation would promote the motive of JCI which is in line with the mandate of the centre.  The selected trainees hosted at the centre were the students that excelled at the inter school debate that JCI organised.