Gender Ministry observes International Day of Families

Abudu called on parents to regulate the use of the technology to protect children from trafficking, kidnapping and other dangers associated with it, especially via mobile phones, television and social media

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has observed the International Day of Families at Teshie in Accra.

This year’s celebration was on the theme, “Families and new technologies.” The event focused on increasing awareness of new digital technology and responsive measures to address its effect on family well-being.

It also aimed at highlighting the significance of embracing existing and emerging technology to enhance family life in Ghana.

In her keynote address, the the sector minister, Lariba Zuweira Abudu, said finding a balance between the use of new technology and family life has become important in today’s world.

She said technology has become an integral part of the everyday life of individuals and families. It has been built to function effectively and fit busy daily schedules.

She, however, explained that understanding the use of technology and its role in families reduces family problems.

She noted that, aside providing social and economic benefits to families, new technology also facilitates communication between and among families. It reduces the stress of travelling long distances.

“Even though the family members may not be physically present, these video calls allow them to be involved and participate in the celebration with everyone,” she said.

Abudu called on parents to regulate the use of the technology. She urged families to support children and guide them in the use of technology to protect them against trafficking, kidnapping and other dangers associated with it, especially via mobile phones, television and social media.

The chief director of the ministry, Afisa Zakaria, said the commemoration does not only create awareness on the importance of embracing new technologies but also emphasises the role of the family.

She said the strength of a typical Ghanaian family can be likened to a household broom: individually fragile, but collectively unbreakable.

Zakaria appealed that the celebration be used to promote responsible parenthood, children’s rights and protection, and foster family cohesion.

A child protection specialist at the United Nations Children’s Fund, Young Joo Lee, emphasised the relevance of the theme, saying the internet offers incredible opportunities for children and young people to communicate, connect, access information, enjoy entertainment and express themselves.

She, however, stated that along with the opportunities, the internet also presents risks to the safety of children, including online child sexual exploitation and abuse, which are on the rise.

She explained that to ensure child online protection, there is a need for a strong child protection system where social workers, teachers, police, health workers and law enforcement and justice staff are empowered to detect cases and provide child victims with timely and quality support, including psychosocial counselling, rehabilitation and legal aid.

Lee called for children to be empowered to identify risks, protect themselves, support their peers, and seek help when needed.

The International Day of Families was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993 through resolution A/RES/47/237.

Since then, every year on 15 May, awareness is created about family-related issues.

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