Why a Digital Citizenship Summit in Nigeria?
We are all too familiar with stories of Nigerians’ misuse and abuse of technology, from online rumour perpetrators specializing in fake news, to young people engaging in nefarious sharing of inappropriate materials, and even to government officials wishing to stifle free speech by enacting laws which real intent is not so much to punish online criminals but to protect themselves from the scrutiny of sincere watchers of their activities.
Digital Citizenship, a concept that helps teachers, technology leaders, parents and the society to understand what students, children, and technology users should know to ensure they use technology responsibly, is gaining world-wide appeal in addressing issues surrounding the inappropriate, irresponsible use and fear of technology.
The Federal Government’s effort to enact the cyber crime act of 2015 is very commendable. It deals squarely with those who break the law. But an initiative like Digital Citizenship will help to stem the growth of the breeding house that produces these cyber criminals in the first place. This is the reason Digital Citizenship education should be encouraged to be one of our first lines of attack against the scourge of fake news, cyber-stalking, cyber-bullying, child pornography, identity theft, hacking and other online malevolence.
Our young people need Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy education to fully participate in today’s digital economy and culture. Stakeholders such as education administrators, parents, teachers, students, citizens and governments at all levels need to work together to educate them about the ramifications of the responsible use of the internet as well as its intrinsic dangers. We all have a responsibility to provide a workable system of digital education that will safeguard and enrich their experience.