Monitor activities of children online… Afenyo-Markin to parents

Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin has called on parents to periodically mon­itor the activities of their children on the various social media platforms to ensure they are safe from abuse.

He said though the House passed the Cyber Security Act 2020 (Act 1038), parents and guardians must be proactive in protecting their wards from perverts who prey on young people, especially online.

In a statement on the floor of Parliament yesterday, Mr Afenyo-Mar­kin, MP, Effutu said “the present and future of our children are in grave peril if we do not scale up efforts and measures to protect them from the dangerous hazards of early Social Media use and consumption”.

In this regard, he said parents must have regular and truthful discussions with their children about how pred­ators may attempt to befriend them online.

“We must critically examine our children’s online profiles as frequently as possible to know precisely the content they gener­ate and or post, the people they follow, and the online friends who either comment on their posts or send messages.

“Conduct regular inventory on social networks and apps to guar­antee that their respective privacy settings are locked on the most restrictive levels.

“Have conversations with our children about the dangers of sharing inappropriate or intimate videos or photos with anyone online.”

In his view, parents must take interest in which websites their children access by installing, where appropriate, adequate parental controls crafted to block risky sites, filter inappropriate content, and set screen limits.

He said the shift from face-to-face learning platforms to virtual ones also present children with another layer of cyber danger; a layer parents must not take for granted.

“The fact that our children attend online classes does not mean they are safe. Therefore, we must keep a keen eye on them and monitor what they do online by regularly reviewing their computer browser history.

“Further, we must periodically speak with relevant authorities in their schools to know the safety protocols used to protect pupils while they use library computers or ICT labs.”

Parents, the lawmaker said, must not hesitate to promptly involve law enforcement officers, especially the Cyber Crime Unit of the Ghana Police Service and the Cyber Security Authority, the moment any child is threatened or abused online.

By so doing, Mr Afenyo-Markin was hopeful children, defined by the constitution as people below 18 years would be protected from debauchees.

Commenting on the statement, the Minister for Communication and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Eku­ful, said government would work with the relevant stakeholders on cyber hygienic practices for children for them to derive the full benefits of the internet while avoiding the dangers.


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