Stakeholders call for consumer awareness and education on child online protection

J.Initiative (JI) in collaboration with Tigo Ghana has successfully organized a stakeholders’ round-table where various issues bothering on Child Online Protection (COP) were discussed.

Participants looked at what Child Online Protection is; the potential threats children are confronted with in the online environment; and to also stakeholders’ role in the COP processes.

The Executive Director of JI Awo Aidam Amenyah told media “there seem to be a generational digital divide which means that parents do not necessarily feel equipped to help their children in the cyber space – which can lead to fear and a sense of helplessness. This compounded by a risk-averse culture where parents are inclined to keep their children ‘indoors’ despite their developmental needs to socialize and take risks. Additionally, there are also concerns over potentially inappropriate material, which range from content (e.g. pornography) through to contact and conduct of children in the digital world”.

The internet and video games are very popular with children and young people and offer a range of opportunities for fun, learning and development.

She however noted that while children are confident with the technology, they are still developing critical evaluation skills and need adult’s help to make wise decisions.

“In relation to the internet we need a shared culture of responsibility with families, industry, government and Civil Society all playing their part to reduce the availability of potentially harmful material, restrict access to it by children and to increase children’s resilience.”

Having observed the Child Online Protection issues in the Country JI believes that Ghana needs to move from discussing about the digital media causing harm to a discussion which focuses on children and young people, what they bring to technology and how to use the understanding of how they develop to empower them to manage risks and make the digital world safer.

“Children will continue to be children – pushing boundaries and taking risks,” Awo Aidam Amenyah stressed.

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