Age is one of the barriers to digital inclusion.  Children are one of the digitally excluded population of the world and Nigeria, in particular. This piece thus seeks to expose the need for deliberate effort towards the digital inclusion of children by parents.

To set the tone for this discussion, the focal terms are defined below. The Child’s Right Act 2003 defines a child as a person under the age of eighteen years. In this context, children are people who are less than eighteen years of age. Also, digital inclusion is defined as “equitable, meaningful, and safe access to use, lead, and design of digital technologies, services, and associated opportunities for everyone, everywhere.


In this context, digital inclusion entails the availability and accessibility of the internet, digital devices, services, platforms, and relevant content; affordable access to them and to critical digital and other skills, education, and tools; and equitable participation in safe, discrimination-free online spaces. The digital exclusion of children can be attributed to cost of internet and devices used to access the internet; poor availability of broadband in rural areas; and lack or inadequate skills and education.

Furthermore, the exclusion of this population, especially in Nigeria, is not unconnected with efforts (mostly prohibitive) by parents, guardians and caregivers to protect them from the abusive and criminal use of the internet by others. There is an assumption that children go online to waste their time, make bad friends, get exposed to lewd contents and other anti-social habits. Thus, the ills inherent in the abusive use of the internet are emphasized and given preeminence.

However, while these efforts may be well-intentioned, they unwittingly deprive children of opportunities for self-development and denial of certain statutory rights. There is, thus, need for a paradigm shift in the way parents, guardians and caregivers visualize and imagine the use of internet and access to devices by their children. This is particularly imperative in view of the roles that technology is primed to play in the nearest future.


There are many benefits in exposing children to technology such as quick exchange of information; provisions of reliable and accurate sources of information as well as an almost endless supply of information such as encyclopedias, current events coverage, and libraries for their educational and self-development purposes. Through technology, children are able to develop basic skills and ability to engage their imaginations creatively. It also provides them tools for socialization through playing games as well as access to opportunity for interaction with friends and family on social media platforms. This offers learning of different languages, subjects, cultures, perspectives, et cetera and improves their communication skills. They are thus better able to express their thoughts more confidently and clearly.

Technology is so advanced, easy and nuanced that children can now develop special skills and talents such as painting, music, etc through applications in devices. It also opens up a world of possibilities for interactive and engaging learning experiences as educational apps, websites, and digital resources provide children with fun ways to explore various subjects, sparking their curiosity and encouraging a love for learning. Through interactive quizzes, games, and multimedia presentations, children can grasp complex concepts more easily. Moreover, technology allows for personalized learning, adapting to each child’s pace and style of learning. This tailored approach helps children build confidence in their abilities and fosters a positive attitude towards education.

Additionally, children have certain rights which successful enjoyment and realization are facilitated by digital inclusion. Such rights include rights to survival and development as well as leisure and recreation. Also, freedoms of association, peaceful assembly, movement, and dignity inure in favour of children. Thus, inherent in parents and guardians ban on and refusal to expose child to technology is a possible denial of the above statutory rights. A child has a right to survival and development which may be violated Nowadays, it is essential for everyday functions that individuals, enterprises and institutions are connected online as it enables the right and the ability to access basic human services such as health care, economic and personal development opportunities, skills development, and education for all. It is therefore unarguable that digital inclusion imbues children with the necessary competencies and skills to develop and survive in the the present technological age.

Also, due to the peculiarity of the present technology-driven age, a blanket ban by parents and guardians shielding children from technology can be a violation of their right to freedom of association, peaceful assembly, movement, dignity, leisure and recreation. Just as it could be illegal imprisonment and undignifying treatment of humans to keep a child from physically associating with other children, prohibiting children from accessing the internet where they can move about, assemble, associate and interact with other kids as well as engage in recreational activities (like playing games) can produce same effect.

Achieving a balance between children’s enjoyment of these fundamental rights and their controlled use of technology will ensure adequate development, survival and contribution to their families, nation and the world.


Instances of abusive use of technology abound and these induce reasonable fear and doubts in parents and guardians about allowing their children and wards unsupervised access to the internet abound. Measures aimed at supervised and controlled use will therefore address these fears and doubts. Some of such are as follows:

  1. limit the amount of time a child spends online and “surfing the web”.
  2. teach a child that talking to “screen names” in a “chat room” is the sameas talking with strangers.
  3. teach a child never to give out any personal identifying information to another individual or website online.
  4. teach a child to never agree to actually meet someone they have met online.
  5. never give a child credit card numbers or passwords that will enable online purchases or access to inappropriate services or site
  6. remind a child that not everything they see or read online is true.
  7. make use of the parental control features offered with your online service, or obtaining commercially available software programs, to restrict access to “chat lines,” news groups, and inappropriate websites.
  8. provide for an individual e-mail address only if a child is mature enough to manage it, and plan to periodically monitor the child’s e-mail and online activity.
  9. monitor the content of a child’s personal web-pageand screen name profile information.
  10. teach a child to use the same courtesy in communicating with others online as they would if speaking in person — i.e. no vulgar or profane language, no name calling, etc.
  11. insist that a child follow the same guidelines at other computers that they might have access to, such as those at school, libraries, or friends’ homes.


Thus, in order to make children’s online experience more safe, beneficial and educational, it is suggested that parents should become aware of and implement measures achieving of these goals instead  of implementing blanket inaccessibility. This will ensure that the huge potentials in the children and enormous opportunities inherent in their deliberate digital inclusion is not stifled and extinguished by surmountable doubts and fear.

  2.   Section 277 of the Child’s Right Act, 2003.
  3.   This is distinguished from Young adults (who are 18 years of age and above).
  4. nclusion.pdf
  6. Online059.aspx#:~:text=Most%20online%20services%20give%20children,%2C%20Twitter%2C %20Snapchat%2C%20etc.
  7. children/#:~:text=Quick%20access%20to%20information%2C%20skill,demands%20technologic al%20literacy%20and%20adaptability
  8.   Young adults (who are 18 years of age and above) can also enjoy some of these statutory rights through the fundamental rights provisions under Chapter 4 of the Constitution.
  9.   Sections 4 and 12 of the Child Right’s Act, 2003.
  10.   Section 4 of the Child’s Right Act, 2003.
  11.   see End Note iii.
  12.   Recreational activities are often done for enjoyment, pleasure, amusement or fun.
  13. Online059.aspx#:~:text=Most%20online%20services%20give%20children,%2C%20Twitter%2C %20Snapchat%2C%20etc.

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