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5 Things to Consider Before Allowing Your Child to Own a Tech Device

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The current generation of kids are a smart, precocious bunch. Owing perhaps to their wide-eyed curiosity, innate awareness, learning aptitude, pace of civilization/societal development and of course the influence of technology, these young ones display a greater sense of exposure at much tender ages than older generations.

According to the Research and Development Unit of Yudala, Nigeria’s fastest growing e-commerce company, the technology-mediated world we live in means that the current generation of kids get exposed to technology at a much younger age. Most proud parents waste no time in buying a smartphone or tablet for their young ones at very tender ages.

This is a major development which, in spite of all the benefits it holds in improving the learning abilities and technological awareness of kids, can also expose them to the dangers associated with technology.

Before taking the decision to expose your child to technology, here are five points worth considering.

Is your child ready?
The decision to buy your child a smartphone, tablet, laptop or any other tech gadget is one that requires careful thought.
Is that child mature enough to handle the responsibility of owning and using a smartphone, for instance, that is connected to the internet and the depth of content out there? While there is no right age to allow a child own a tech device, the maturity level and personality of the child matters.
For kids who are naturally reserved, early exposure to technology may provide a shell they can conveniently retreat into, inadvertently alienating parents and other family members. Worse still, there are loads of damaging materials out there on the internet that your child must be protected from.
Most parents or care-givers fail to realize that there is no going back once a child has been exposed to technology, especially through ownership of a smart device. A strong feeling of attachment or fascination is developed by the child for the device.
Coupled with the natural curiosity and inclination to explore inherent in kids, you will be doing more harm than good trying to block access to technology once a child has had a taste of it.
The foregoing shows how huge the entry decision is and why parents must consciously decide whether the time is right for their children.

Set the ground rules
Before you decide to allow your child own a tablet or smartphone, it is essential to lay down certain rules that will guide the use of the device.
This will involve some form of agreement on your expectations and the responsibilities that come with their ownership of the device. In addition to setting out times for usage other than answering and making calls or replying short messages, cyber concerns such as the dangers of meeting strangers online, cyber-bullying and the need for extreme caution when using social media should also be discussed.
Furthermore, conversations around the legal, moral and other damaging implications of inappropriate pictures and text, pornography and nudity must also be had in order to ensure that the child is not mislead online.
Research shows that it is also advisable to draw up a contract that will guide your child’s usage of a tech device. Punishments for irresponsible or wrong usage must also be clearly spelt out and the document signed off by both parties.
Among other things, this contract will grant the parent ownership of the device, specify access for the parent to all passwords and apps on the phone, indicate the hours the phone can be on and off and penalties to be applied if the rules are flouted.

Parental control is a must
One of the first things a parent should do before handing over a smart device to a child is to set up parental control apps.
There are several apps you can download and install on your child’s tablet, laptop or smartphone. These apps allow you keep track of everything your child is doing on the device while others provide instant alerts when inappropriate or high-risk words are used in texts or on social media.
With parental control apps installed, there is greater control over the materials and contents your kid is exposed to on the often-notorious web, thereby giving you peace of mind.
It is equally important to point out that today’s kids are precocious and quite dexterous with the use of tech devices, hence you must take steps to ensure that you are not being outsmarted by your child. Parental controls can be disabled at specific times by a naughty child who knows where to tweak these settings.
Hidden file directories can be used to surreptitiously save inappropriate pictures, videos and other potentially damaging contents. As a result, you must ensure all bases are covered   in this regard before you relax in the knowledge that your child is safe online.

Availability of local content
With the influx of foreign technology and the overwhelming abundance of technological devices and gadgets from other climes in the market, our children often miss out on an opportunity to get exposed, from an early age, to the rich local culture and content that make up our indigenous identity as a nation.
The majority of devices produced by foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) hardly provide for local content and instead may expose your kid to cultural materials ill-suited or at dissonance with our local realities.
While much of the argument for preferring foreign tech gadgets hinges on quality, it is important to consider the need to have useful, culturally-sensitive materials in entry-level devices for kids such as children tablets and pads, etc.
A number of world-class local technology companies such as Zinox Technologies Ltd., among others, often design children tabs pre-loaded with games and educative contents, some of them in the major local languages. These go a long way to imbue a sense of cultural identity and awareness in the users from a tender age.

Build responsibility through gadget use
Allowing your child own and use a smart device means you are handing them a huge responsibility. In other words, you are giving them an element of freedom which must not be abused.
As aptly stated by former US President, Ronald Reagan: “With freedom comes responsibility, a responsibility that can only be met by the individual.”
Before taking the decision to allow your child own a tech gadget, you must be convinced that this privilege can be used to build more responsibility in the kid concerned.
This could come in the form of convincing the child to set aside a small portion of his/her allowance to offset the cost of data plan for the device.
Furthermore, the child must be made to embrace a culture of using the device in a constructive, less addictive manner through having set times for usage, unplugging at agreed times and constantly exploring ways of increasing learning and productivity through the use of the device.

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E-Business

Improved Security Strategies Required for ePlatforms Uptakes- ITSSP

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By peter oluka ‎

Nigeria requires adequate cyber security measures to sustain the growth of service deliveries through e-Platforms, said information security experts.

Professor Adesina Sodiya, president of ITSSP in a telephone interview with Nigeria CommunicationsWeek, described cybercrime as a growing global threat, but every country has learnt to defend its cyber space.

Prof. Sodiya said, ‎”Cybercrime is a global challenge; and the recent attacks in Nigeria have been affecting critical areas of our activities. That is why this group is concerned about the development of solutions to tackle the menace. We have to continue to discourse the way forward in terms of our national cyber development”‎

He said that, ‎as a country, professionals must be engaged to develop the cyber defence strategies. “Many countries have gone ahead with the development of defence mechanisms in the cyber space; Nigeria must not be left behind. We have not gotten there.‎

“Why do we need to be more serious about cyber space? There is a popular saying today that the next world war will happen at the cyber space.

“As at now, many countries are gathering information about other countries. They are peeping into other countries’ activities, which calls for us to develop our cyber security strategies to monitor inflow and outflow of data”.

Mr. ‎Aderogba Adeoye, former president of ITSSP also told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek that increase in these e-platforms calls for improved cyber security awareness.‎

“Everybody is talking about e-platforms. If we are to run the e-platforms, it entails a need to develop capacities for security. Your data or information can be wiped off in a twinkle of an eye. As far as the e-commerce platforms are concerned, the intention is to make profit.‎

“For us to continue reaping benefits in e-services applications the capacity development of the human capital must be taken very serious. This is what the conference tends to address.‎

“We are not relenting. ITSSP is an interest group of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS); it is important to us to advocate for focus on issues related to cyber security”, he said.‎‎

He added that recent advocacies have yielded results with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), for instance, introduced information security departments. “That is a right step in good direction. The other day we engaged the Ministry of Justice and the National Security Adviser (NSA) and they were convincing enough on how admitting electronic evidences are helpful in combating cybercrimes”. ‎

“In order to build capacity government has to enhance IT policing activities by ensuring that anybody executing government projects, in IT, are registered professionals. This is another way to elicit adherence to the rules of the business,” Adeoye added. ‎‎

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Stakeholders Frown at Nigeria’s Position on eReadiness Report

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by Chike Onwuegbuchi

Information and communications technology stakeholders have frowned at the recent position of the Nigeria on eReadiness status where the country is placed 119 out of 139 countries.

eReadiness refers to a country’s capacity and state of preparedness to participate in the electronic world.

The state of maturity is commonly measured by the country’s information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and the ability of its government and citizens to utilize the positive impacts of ICT for sustainable development.

Chris Uwaje, director general, Delta State Innovation Hub, who disclosed the country’s position said: “In the e-readiness report just released early this week Nigeria is sitting at 119.”

He said; “eReadiness status is about the aggregate measure of how countries are faring using ICT or within the ICT landscape, it embodied economic, educational and social index, measured along the lines of sustainable development goals. Each country has an index that they need to pass, it just like exam. But the aggregate sum of our domain platform today is really unacceptable. It keeps us into that realm of super consumption country in ICT but less in innovative and creativity and that is wrong.”

He explained that the more we consume the more we cannot create employment. “The more we consume, the more we are funding capital flight, the more we consume the more our educational sector will be malnourished in terms of knowledge, and will not be attractive, that is why more Nigerians are now in Ghanaian universities and in Republic of Benin universities.

“For the country to move up it is about knowledge Olympiad. We need to refine our educational system, government need to invest more on knowledge parks, incubators, and fund incubators. We have to ensure that lectures and those who can replicate knowledge are given added resources and reward system that enables them. Because we need to create a digital army for this country, so that when financial sector, aviation, transport or any other sector is attack can we defend it?”

Amos Emmanuel, chief executive officer, Programos Software, said that Nigeria has a lot to do if she has to move up in the ladder of e-readiness.

“The game of e-readiness has changed; it is no longer like technological transfer from Europe or America the focus is now on innovation base on the environment. Nigeria needs to reformulate its digital policy,” he said.

He blamed the country’s socio-cultural environment as impediment to application of information and communications technology to every sector of the economy.

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FG to Harmonize BVN, Others into National Identity Database

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By Fabian Tarpael, Abuja
The Federal Government has announced its decision to stop what it called proliferation and duplication of biometric-based identity systems in the country.

Mrs. Habiba Lawal, acting Secretary to the Government of the Federation, stated this in Abuja while inaugurating a former governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, alongside eight others as chairman and members, respectively of the Governing Board of the National Identity Management Commission, (NIMC).

Lawal noted that the Federal Government established the NIMC as the primary institution charged with the responsibility of providing and regulating identity management in Nigeria, the issuance of the National Identification Number (NIN) and ID card to all registrable persons as well as the harmonisation and integration of existing identification databases in government agencies and integrating them into the National Identity Database (NIDB).

Represented on the board are the military, Nigeria Immigration Service, Federal Road Safety Corps, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, other government agencies and the private sector.

Among the first task the ex-governor and his team have been saddled with is the harmonisation of databases of Nigerians believed to have been unnecessarily duplicated.

Data expected to be harmonized included the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card registration being handled by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC); Bank Verification Number (BVN); Drivers Licence from the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC); and voters card number among others.

Lawal said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari expects the proliferation and duplication of biometric-based identity systems to stop as it was neither cost effective, nor security smart.

“Apart from being unwieldy, the cost of operating multiple discordant databases and infrastructure is unattainable,” Lawal had stated.

She urged the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to come up with a more effective and innovative identity management system that was devoid of duplication for the country.

Mrs Lawal also said despite the successes of the commission at data capture of registrable persons in the country, “there was still much more to be done.”

She urged members of the Board who were drawn from both the public and private sectors, to take a cue from the countries that have successfully issued unique identity to its citizens and have utilised such identity to transform their society and economy.

“We need change, positive change in our identity eco-system. The change starts with all of us agreeing to make the sacrifices and commitment required, defining clear policy direction and taking collective actions to achieve our common goal.

“The NIMC must focus its energy on ensuring that the remaining component of the National Identity Management System (NIMS) roll-out alignment and switching over by the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) through the harmonization and integration framework is successfully implemented.

“The speed of data collection must have to be improved upon, and this will reduce justifications given by MDAs, as reasons for duplicated biometric options.

“Hopefully, the harmonisation programme, being spearheaded by the Office of the Vice President, will help to achieve this, especially, by the commission ensuring that the MDAs switch or at least, align their existing infrastructure as data collection agents to the NIMC system,” she said.

In an acceptance speech, Oyinlola gave the assurance that the Board members will work assiduously to justify the confidence reposed in them by the government.

“We, therefore, pledge our loyalty to our dear nation and Mr President who has recognised our inherent capabilities and made the appointment, based on trust, competence and the confidence reposed in us.

“We shall live up to expectations, especially given the fact that the burden placed on our shoulders is a very sensitive and significant one that must be carried with every sincerity and patriotism,” he said.

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