The Ghana based group, Child Online Africa has launched what it calls an Online Safety guide for the Family.
This document is to offer a range of information from a number of different sources, including the information for children and parents since they are the gate keepers of children most often.
At a news conference the executive director of the organization, Awo Aidam Amenyah said “most young people are often eager to be seen and get ‘likes’, sharing too much information about themselves. They respond to personal queries and share personal information, doing things they wouldn’t dream of doing in a face-to-face situation.”
Poorly adapted online behavior and information-sharing can trigger bullying, sextortion, public embarrassment, fraud… It is a key factor in opening the door to grooming, which can rapidly escalate to outcomes like sexual exploitation or even radicalization.”
According to Child Online Africa the Online Safety guide for the Family is helpful document that will aid in starting the cyber safety awareness conversation while educating more Ghanaian parents on where to report threats associated with the use of the internet without compromising on simple and practical solutions for the purposes of parental guidance.
“Child Online Africa believes that the only way to make the internet space safe for our children is by starting from home, where the parents and other adults in the family play that socialization role by making sure they do their best to teach children the basics before handing them a device or allowing them to play on platforms,” Amenyah said.
She also highlighted why it is important that “everyone better understands how digital technology and other products of artificial intelligence are shaping the society in general.
Rather than educational focus on coding, companies could get together with educators to create learning programmes around these issues, and support teacher training for the implementation.”
The safety guide for the Family has been translated into three international languages (English, Hausa & French) and three other local dialects (Twi, Ga and Ewe) to help reach those outside the English language circles.
“While we roll out this initiative at Child Online Africa, we appeal to the law enforcement agencies especially the Ghana police service to scale up support to the National Cybersecurity Centre by effecting the arrest of operators of harmful sites and other persons who are found engaging in activities of cyber-bullying and other forms of activities which endanger the safety of our children using the internet, Amenyah said.
Nice Net November campaign
Meanwhile the group is also pushing for improved safety for children online across Africa.
The group’s annual campaign dubbed #NiceNetNovember is held every November since 2016, devoted to activities that reinforce awareness creation for child online safety effort.
The Nice Net Campaign for this year was heralded by the Hike for the child online campaign.
The campaign which is a charity cause was an initiative to spark up the discussion and support for safety and well-being of children across Africa, and was climaxed by the 3rd Child Online Protection Forum.
According to officials of Child Online Africa, this year’s edition was in collaboration with Ghana’s Head of States Awards Gold Awards participants. The participants over a three day period conquered the tallest mountain in Ghana located at Afadjato in the Volta Region.
Awo Aidam Amenyah said “many of us have openly welcomed the internet into our lives. For most of us the internet is part of our daily routine for keeping in touch with friends and family, working, studying, playing games, shopping and paying bills.”
She adds that “while the internet offers us many benefits, there are also a range of safety and security risks associated with its use. These include threats to the integrity of our identities, our privacy and the security of our electronic communications, in particular financial transactions, as well as exposure to offensive and illegal content and behaviour.”