Google on Tuesday announced the launch of a $1 million pan-African Google.org fund to support innovative ideas around privacy, trust and the safety of families online across sub-Saharan Africa.
Seember Nyager, Policy and Government Relations Manager, Google Nigeria, said at the 16th annual Safer Internet Day (SID) “that Google was committed to a safe internet for children, as well as the empowerment of organisations who shared the commitment.
“The fund will be administered by a third-party partner on behalf of Google.org, and we will be sharing details on application criteria and deadlines soon.
“Google would look to support initiatives across Africa and be administered by a trusted partner.
“Details of how to apply, deadlines and criteria will be made available in due course.”
She said, “Beyond our own products, we also want to help kids learn how to be safer, more confident explorers of the online world.
“Today, we join the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to hold SID events in 36 states towards empowering teachers, parents and younger children to better understand and navigate the Web with confidence.
“Google also announced ‘Be Internet Awesome’, in Nigeria, Abuja, Netherlands, South Africa today, and earlier in Kenya, which is a landmark child online safety programme,’’ she said.
Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, Head of Brand and Reputation, Africa at Google, said that Internet Awesome seeks to help minors explore the internet safely and confidently.
She said Google was excited to strengthen the work being done with parents and children in the field of online safety in Nigeria.
She said in addition to Family Link, which allowed parents to help their families develop healthy digital habits, Google also launched Password Checkup exactly one year ago to empower users to check and strengthen online security settings for their Google Accounts.
“Be Internet Awesome teaches kids important skills for surfing the internet, like how to recognise potential online scams, using the internet securely and safeguarding valuable information.
“(It teaches) how to identify and refrain from cyberbullying, as well as what to do when encountering questionable content on the internet.’’
Nkemdilim Ilo, CEO, Public Private Development Centre, (PPDC) said that SID brings schools, parents, teachers and industry together to make sure children have the power, information and resilience they need to make safe and informed choices online.
She said this year, PPDC was particularly pleased with the support of Google and the Government.
According to her, “We have been able to infuse online safety courses into the Nigerian school curriculum.
“This will teach children the practical and emotional skills they need as they navigate their way through the digital world.”
The Director General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Garba Abari, said “SID provides a great opportunity to promote internet safety across a range of audience and it’s an event which the agency strongly support.’’
Mr Abari, represented by Mette Edokobi, said that the agency was really glad to collaborate with Google and our reliable partners, PPDC, to launch “The Digital Parenting Initiative.
He said it was a programme aimed at educating guardians, teachers and families on online tools that bring families together to learn, have fun and be safe online.
According to him, “We are excited to strengthen the work we have been doing with parents and children in the field of online safety in Nigeria.”
The SID was organised by the Public and Private Development Centre, National Orientation Agency in partnership with Google.