By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Rolled out earlier this month, Facebook has announced it has teamed up with Co-Creation Hub (CcHub) and Junior Achievement Nigeria to launch an Online Safety Programme for students in Nigerian secondary schools across the country including in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Ibadan and Kaduna.
A 12-week workshop, the programme is designed to introduce and challenge teenagers between the ages of 14-17 in understanding the fundamentals of online safety and digital literacy. Covering topics such as Managing an Online Presence, Social Media and Sharing, Public Wi-Fi Safety, Building Healthy Relationships Online, Understanding Password Security and Privacy Settings, as well as Identifying Misinformation Online.
Speaking on the initiative, Sherry Dzinoreva Facebook’s Policy Programmes Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa commented: “Collectively, we all have a responsibility to help teach the fundamentals of staying safe online to our future generations. With the youngest aged continent, we’re seeing more young people come online in Nigeria, and understanding how to identify and filter misinformation, managing their online presence and how to stay safe online are just some of the core skills we need to equip them with. Facebook’s Digital Literacy Library has been designed to make it easy to integrate these lessons into the curriculum or on their own as part of after-school programmes.”
Aimed to empower youths, these will be run as after-school clubs through a network of specially trained safety educators. Using select modules from Facebook’s Digital Literacy Library, a new online resource tool developed by Youth and Media (YaM) researchers at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, the Facebook Digital Literacy Library is currently available for teachers and youth facilitators to access free of charge, and consists of over 18 lessons covering a range of topics in both English and Hausa.
Developed for educators, the lessons incorporate over 10 years of academic research by the Youth and Media team and reflect the diverse voices of young people from around the world.
“In our work raising young digital makers, we have seen the enthusiasm with which they use the internet to access knowledge and tools to develop their skills. With this, we have realized that now more than ever it is important to also empower them with the skills to stay safe as they explore the online world. SafeOnline has been designed to teach concepts that address online habits of the target group in a series of fun and interactive sessions using resources from the Facebook Digital Literacy Library. We believe that this programme lays the foundation for building young digital safety champions across Nigeria.” Said Nissi Madu, Programme Manager, re:learn by CcHub
Commenting, Simi Nwogugu, Executive Director, Junior Achievement Nigeria said: “Junior Achievement Nigeria embarked on a digital transformation strategy in 2015 to take advantage of new technologies and tools for reaching our thousands of students across Nigeria. We realized the opportunities afforded by the Internet also came with some challenges, particularly for young students who may be more vulnerable online, so when Facebook approached us about SafeOnline, it was exactly what we needed to insure our students against those vulnerabilities. We are proud to be a partner in this initiative and look forward to taking SafeOnline to all our schools across all regions of Nigeria.”
Next year, the programme will extend to Enugu, Port Harcourt, Jos, Aba and Uyo.
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