Yesterday marked Africa Safer Internet Day (ASID) and it was under the theme: “Positioning and Partnering for Online Protection” which is an acknowledgement of the deficiencies identified in Child Online Protection in Africa, juxtaposed with requirements from the revised International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU’s) 2020 COP Guidelines
The increasing rate of access to the usage of the Internet exposes children to all sorts of hazards. For instance, a report by cybersecurity solutions provider Kaspersky, conducted last year (2020), suggests that more than a quarter of children survey (27%) had already seen sexual or violent content online.
Coupled with the above, 14% of parents said their children had received anonymous messages, or exposed to content encouraging them to carry out violent or inappropriate actions.
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 expanded to roughly 170 countries worldwide and the event in now known in Africa as ‘Africa Safer Internet Day’.
The event sought to help sensitise and reorient children, young people, parents & guardians, and educators on the safe use of the internet while contributing to the capacity building and awareness generation for an improved cybersecurity culture among Ghanaians.
Minister of Communications designate, Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful emphasised the role of the internet in the lives of especially young people and children for educative, social and entertainment purposes. However, she added that there is a need for parents, guardians and teachers to pay more attention to young ones engaged in online to ensure they are not abused, or taken advantage off.
Modern life is easy through the immense contribution of internet technology for communication and information sharing. The Internet is a treasure trove of practical knowledge. Any kind of information on any subject under the sun is available on the Internet. That is why every parent wants their children to benefit from this wonderful technology, however, there are down sides since they can be exposed to all manner of vices.
Hence, the importance of the day cannot be downplayed. However, it is important that parents and teachers ensure children are not exposed to negative influences and hence, the importance of upholding ITU’s guidelines on COP.
Cybersecurity is extremely important in every facet of our lives and protecting children is paramount in this regard.