Child online protection has been a major concern globally and therefore requires a global approach in addressing such issues. The International Telecommunication Union in 2008 established an initiative on children’s safety online, with their core objectives as follows;
- Identification of risks and vulnerabilities to children in cyberspace
- Creation of awareness among policymakers, industry, parents and educators as well as the children
- Development of practical tools to help minimize risk
- Sharing knowledge and experience
Mean while in Ghana, Dr Edward Omane Boamah, Minister of Communications has inaugurated a committee which includes representatives from government institutions, academia, youth sector, law enforcement sector, parents group, civil society organisations, telecommunications service operators and faith based organisations.
These communities will spearhead child online protection to ensure protection of children from internet usage abuse.
The committee would serve as a forum for collecting, discussing and raising awareness of good practices and approaches on legal, technical, educational, policy and strategic frameworks adopted by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
Dr Boamah said research shows that more children and young people were connecting to the Internet using game consoles and mobile devices, yet many adults were not aware that connectivity was possible using such devices.
He said many parents are adamant with the notion that their children were safer if they were at home using a computer than they would be if they were accessing the Internet outside of the home.
“This is a dangerous misconception because the Internet can take children and young people virtually anywhere in the world and in the process can be exposed to potentially serious risks as they could in the real world,” he said.
The Minister said protecting children online is everybody’s responsibility, and that the committee was guided by the principle that the interest of all Ghanaian children was paramount.
He said the Ghana is a member of the ITU and continues to engage with international institutions to ensure adherence to recognized norms and standards in all sphere of disciplines.
Nene Nagai Kassa VIII, the Chief of Agomeda, Chairman of the committee, thanked President John Dramani Mahama for the appointment and pledged their commitment to work to meet the objectives of the committee.
He said the committee had started preparatory work and called on members to learn from each other to ensure the success of their task.