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CSA calls for stakeholder collaboration as Ghana marks “Safer Internet Day”

ASID is dedicated to advancing online safety initiatives and best practices by raising awareness on Child Online Safety in Africa

Ghana is set to mark the annual celebration of “Africa Safer Internet Day” (ASID) under the theme “Empowering Minds, Protecting Rights: Creating a Safer Digital Africa” on 6 February 2024, with a call on parents, teachers, civil society organisations, the media, and the private sector to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.

ASID is dedicated to advancing online safety initiatives and best practices by raising awareness on Child Online Safety in Africa. The celebration further seeks to reflect the continent’s unwavering commitment to ensuring a secure digital future by empowering young people, especially children, and positioning them for a safer digital Africa.

A 2022 report from UNICEF Ghana indicates that more than 13,000 images and videos of child sexual abuse were reportedly accessed or uploaded from Ghana in 2020.

According to Interpol’s Global Crime Trends Report 2022, Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (OCSEA) was ranked among the top ten crime trends perceived by member countries to pose high or very high threats, and 62% of member countries strongly expected this crime to increase significantly in the future.

Ghana is thus in grave danger of losing her future generation to the predatory and hidden evils of the online world.

The celebration in Ghana is thus expected to create awareness of child online provisions in the Cybersecurity Act 2020, (Act 1038), raise awareness of current cybersecurity trends which affect children, share safety tips and acceptable online behaviours for children and young persons as well as discuss channels for seeking redress.

The Government of Ghana through the Cyber Security Authority (CSA) has put in place measures to demonstrate its commitment towards a safer internet for all users especially children, some of which include the passage of the Cybersecurity Act 2020 (Act 1038), which has provisions that criminalise child online abuses, the National Child Online Protection Framework which is aimed at tackling the incidents of Child Online Sexual Exploitation and Abuse including child sexual abuse materials, online harassment, and cyberbullying against children, and the Cybersecurity/ Cybercrime Incidents Reporting Points of Contacts that allow for the coalition of reports and is a platform for enquiries.

The CSA is also committed to organising regular sensitisation programmes across the country to educate children and parents on how to ensure safety online. In 2022, the Authority further launched the National Cybersecurity Challenge for Senior High Schools across the country to educate the students on the subject, to further conscientise them on cyber hygiene practices, and to prepare them to become cybersecurity professionals.

Despite the efforts of the Government to completely make the Internet a safe place for children, some gaps need to be filled by the private sector; technology companies, Civil Society Organisations, parents, teachers, and the media, among others, to improve awareness on child online safety issues across the country.

The CSA will once again lead the annual Africa Safer Internet Day celebration in partnership with UNICEF Ghana, the Ghana Education Service (GES), and other stakeholders through sensitisation events in schools, outreach programmes on child digital safety for churches and mosques, media engagements and social media campaigns.

Reporting by Wilberforce Asare in Accra 

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