Promote responsible digital citizenship, UN society urges youth

The Nigeria Model United Nations Society (NigMUNS) has charged Nigerian youths to equip themselves with the skills that would enable them to become responsible digital citizens.

Chioma Oziri, Secretary-General of the 2023 Nigerian International Secondary Schools Model United Nations (NISSMUN), gave the charge at the 19th NISSMUN conference on Monday in Abuja.

The theme of the conference is: “Promoting Responsible Digital Citizenship Among Young People.”

Oziri expressed confidence that the 19th edition of NISSMUN would provide incredible opportunities for Nigerian youths to be exposed to the world of digital experience.

“Our digital world has expanded and transformed the way we connect, learn, and engage with the world around us.

“With the power of the internet at our fingertips, our youth have become the architects of our digital destiny but as Winston Churchill once said, ‘with great power comes great responsibility’.

“Our young people have inherited a world with limitless possibilities, where information is boundless, where connections span continents and innovations know no bounds.

“We have a world filled with risks and challenges that can shape our lives unimaginably.

“To navigate this digital landscape with resilience, we must equip ourselves with the skills to become responsible digital citizens,” she said.

The Executive-Secretary urged the youth to be responsible digital citizens who not only know how to operate smartphones but also observe ethical digital conduct.

“It is about using technology to empower, educate and inspire, rather than harm, mislead or isolate.

“It is about cultivating empathy, critical thinking, and a strong moral compass in digital space.

“We need to remember that our words and actions can have a real impact on others and strive to make that impact a positive one.”

According to her, digital footprint is the lasting legacy we leave on the internet.

“It is essential to teach ourselves that our digital actions can have consequences in our world today and in future,” Oziri said.

According to her, the internet is a powerful tool for collaboration and positive change.

She, therefore, urged the youth to leverage this potential by engaging in constructive online communities, participating in discussions that mattered, and advocating on courses they were passionate about.

We have a world filled with risks and challenges that can shape our lives unimaginably. To navigate this digital landscape with resilience, we must equip ourselves with the skills to become responsible digital citizens.

Burden of responsibility

On his part, Mr Chika Nwaozuzu, Chairman, Governing Council, Nigeria Model United Nations Society, said the responsibility rests on parents and guardians to guide and support young people in becoming responsible digital citizens.

“We must engage in open and honest conversations about the digital world, addressing both its benefits and risks.

“We should educate them about cyberbullying, online harassment, and the potential consequences of their online actions.

“By equipping them with knowledge and awareness, we empower them to navigate the digital realm confidently and responsibly,” Nwaozuzu said.

Earlier, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, in his message, said, “to shape our common future in the world, we need young people. We need your creativity, courage, and commitment to ensure transformative change, sustainability, inclusiveness, and a peaceful world for all.

“Humanity has also shown that we are capable of great things when we work together across geographies and generations.”

Similarly, the Ambassador of Switzerland, Nicolas Lang, said the exercise of democracy and practice of multilateralism require special skills and competencies in the field of political analysis and negotiation.

Lang said more importantly, “we require openness to listen to others, to understand different points of views and to seek compromise and jointly developed solutions.”

According to him, the 19th NISSMUN conference provides an excellent opportunity to practice and exercise such qualities.

“I therefore congratulate you on your decision to participate in this unique event which offers you the opportunity to familiarise yourself with the principles of democracy and multilateral diplomacy,” he said.

One of the participants, Kith Richards, a student from Georgia University, USA, expressed optimism that the conference would equip the youth with the much-needed skills to be good ambassadors.

Richards said, “the ability for these students to come here and learn about diplomacy, creativity, confidence, public speaking, and negotiation is amazing.

“All of these skills are going to pay dividends in the future when they go on to amazing careers.”

Another participant, Benjamin Outstriker, said public speaking had strengthened his involvement in politics, international Affairs and developed his thinking skills.

“What NISSMUN is doing will help Nigerian students find their voices and enable them to meet other peers and learn from each other.” (NAN)

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