The Head of Department of ComputerScience of the C K TedemUniversity of Technology and Applied Sciences in Navrongo of the Upper East Region, Prof. Edward Y Baagyere, has called on Ghanaians to join the crusade in the fight against online abuse of children.
ProfessorEdward Y Boaagyerewho expressed worry about the emerging trend of online abuse of children, said the abuse of children online could be minimised if all stakeholders namely parents, guardians, teachers, civil society organisations and religious bodies get involved in fighting the menace.
Professor Baagyere who made the call at this year’s Africa Safer International Day (ASID), organised by Afrikids Ghana, a children organisationinBolgatanga, on Tuesday, said for every awareness created, a child could be protected, secured and saved from criminal online abuses such as sextortion, cyber bullying, cyber grooming, sexting, possession and distribution of child pornography.
The event which is celebrated globally on February 7annually is to promote the safer and positive use of digital technology among children and young people and to inspire a national conversation about online safer of children and young people.
The occasion was used to educate school pupils in the municipality on how to desist from fallen victim to online abusers in addition to a radio programme on the phenomenon.
Prof.Baagyere entreated parents to play a watchdog role by ensuring that their children are not caught by online perpetrators activities and said children should be encouraged to use the technology responsibly, respectively, critically and creatively.
The professor who stressed that the world today is ruled by Information Communication Technology in this era, inspired pupils and students to peruse ICT education and to exploit its usage in empowering themselves to enable them contribute their quota to national development
The Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning officer of Afrikids Ghana, Mr Daniel Kpabitey, stated that the internet penetration of children are very high in Ghana and said the penetration was also spreading into the rural areas very rapidly.
“Research conducted by the National Communication Authority in 2010 indicates that children below the ages of five years are patronising online activities. The perpetrators online use strategies such as force, bribes, tricks and persuasion to get the victim online into sexually explicit acts. They connect via smartphones with webcams to share sexually explicit photos, images and live streaming of themselves and the child inappropriately either off or online,” he disclosed.
He explained that this calls for duty bearers not to concentrate only in the urban centres in addressing the phenomenon, but to also spread their tentacles to the rural settings so as not leave children in such areas out in dealing with the issue.
The External Affairs Officer of Afrikids Ghana, Mr RaymondAyine, said he was shocked to hear the kinds of questions asked by the school pupils during the forum and stated that this confirmed that a lot of the school pupils are patronising the online.
He, therefore, called on the Ministry of Communication and Digitalisationto support Afrikids Ghana and other child rights organisations to help in the canker.
FROM SAMUEL AKAPULE, BOLGATANGA