Facebook unveils Online Youth Safety Programme for Nigerian schools

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Facebook says it has partnered Co-Creation Hub (CcHub) and Junior Achievement Nigeria to launch an Online Safety Programme for students in Nigerian secondary schools across the country.

Facebook’s Policy Programmes Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa, Sherry Dzinoreva said in a statement on Wednesday in Lagos, that the schools were in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Ibadan and Kaduna.

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In 2019, the programme will extend to Enugu, Port Harcourt, Jos, Aba and Uyo.

Dzinoreva said that the initiative involved a 12-week workshop programme designed to introduce and challenge teenagers between the ages of 14-17 in understanding the fundamentals of online safety and digital literacy.

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She said that the programme covered topics such as Managing an Online Presence, Social Media and Sharing, Public Wi-Fi Safety and Building Healthy Relationships Online.

The topics also include Understanding Password Security and Privacy Settings, as well as Identifying Misinformation Online.

”Collectively, we all have a responsibility to help teach the fundamentals of staying safe online to our future generations.

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”With the youngest aged continent, we are seeing more young people come online in Nigeria.

”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,” Dzinoreva said.

She said that the programme, which aimed to empower youths, would be run as after-school clubs through a network of specially trained safety educators.

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According to her, the programme is 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.

She said that the Facebook Digital Literacy Library was available for teachers and youth facilitators to access free of charge.

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Dzinoreva said it consists of over 18 lessons covering a range of topics in both English and Hausa.

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She said that the lessons, developed for educators, incorporate over 10 years of academic research by the YaM team and reflect the diverse voices of young people from around the world.

The Programme Manager, re:learn by CcHub, Nissi Madu, said that in CCHub’s work of raising young digital makers, it had seen the enthusiasm with which they use the internet to access knowledge and tools to develop their skills.

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Madu said that the hub had realised that now, more than ever, it was important to also empower the youth 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.

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”We believe that this programme lays the foundation for building young digital safety champions across Nigeria,” the Programme Manager said.

The Executive Director, Junior Achievement Nigeria, Simi Nwogugu, said that Junior Achievement Nigeria embarked on a digital transformation strategy in 2015 to take advantage of new technologies and tools for reaching thousands of students across Nigeria.

Nwogugu said that Junior Achievement Nigeria realised the opportunities afforded by the internet also came with some challenges, particularly for young students who might 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,” she said.

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