Child Online Protection to take centre-stage at Africa Safer Internet Day 2021


As part of its continued efforts in promoting safety in the cyberspace, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) of the Ministry of Communications – in partnership with UNICEF Ghana, will on Tuesday, February 9 mark the Africa Safer Internet Day (ASID) 2021.

This year’s edition takes on added importance with the increasing rate of access to and usage of the Internet, and aims to raise awareness on emerging online issues and the corresponding strategies for resolution.

The event – the fourth consecutive edition held in the country – will have as its theme ‘Positioning and Partnering for Child Online Protection’.
According to a statement by the organisers: “This year’s theme acknowledges deficiencies identified in the continent’s Child Online Protection (COP) efforts, juxtaposed with requirements from the revised International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU’s) 2020 COP Guidelines.”

It further states that, “It is anticipated that at least 75% of countries in Africa will be in the process of developing country-specific COP strategies by the end of 2021, with reference to the ITU COP Guidelines developed for the region”.

A report by cybersecurity solutions provider Kaspersky, conducted in 2020, suggests that more than a quarter – that is, 27% – of children surveyed had already seen sexual or violent content online. Furthermore, 14% of parents said that their children had received anonymous messages, or been exposed to content encouraging them to carry out violent or inappropriate actions.

With prevailing conditions occasioned by the on-going pandemic, this year’s edition will vary from the previous editions – which were heavy on in-person engagement with key stakeholders, particularly students. Outlets in broadcast, print and new media, as well as a number of online platforms will thus be utilised for this edition.

“The event is expected to help sensitise and reorient children, young people, parents & guardians and educators on safe use of the Internet while contributing to capacity building and awareness generation for an improved cybersecurity culture among Ghanaians,” the statement notes.

Other key partners at ASID 2021 include: Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ghana Education Service, National Communications Authority, Child Online Africa, and the Parents and Teacher Association Council.

In recognition of challenges with the advent and use of technology, the European Union through its Safe Borders project implemented the ‘A Safer Internet Day’ initiative in 2004.

Commemoration of the day has expanded to approximately 170 countries worldwide, and it has been coordinated by the INSAFE/INHOPE Network since 2005. The event is now known in Africa as ‘Africa Safer Internet Day’ (ASID)

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