A national study on child online practices in Ghana has revealed that nearly 70 percent of children use the internet for learning and research, yet too little is done to protect them online from sexually exploitative and obscene materials.
The study however indicated that 4 out of 10 children or adolescents have seen sexual images online. Adding, two out of 10 children or adolescents have met someone in person that they first got to know on the internet.
The study, commissioned by UNICEF in collaboration with the government of Ghana said the impact of the internet on the lives of children is a significant concern globally, both in terms of opportunities and the potential risks children are exposed to.
‘’Children are more vulnerable in the cyberspace and the dangers confronting them include online abuse in all its forms; cyber-bullying, child pornography, sexual exploitation, cyber stalking, child-sex tourism and trafficking,’’ it noted.
Safer Digital Ghana campaign
Government, through the Ministry of Communications and the National Cyber-Security Centre has therefore stepped up a national awareness campaign aimed at promoting a Safer Digital Ghana, with children identified as the key targets.
Child Online Protection (COP), is a key component of the campaign to identify the risks and opportunities associated with the use of the internet among children and adolescents.
It is expected that by the end of the campaign in 2024, children in Ghana would have an increased knowledge and understanding on basic cyber-security skills and will be able to use the internet in a safe and responsible manner.
By Mawuli Y. Ahorlumegah