Committee to safeguard child online abuse launched

Committee to safeguard child online abuse launched
Source: Ghana | | Abubakar Ibrahim | Email:
Date: 04-08-2016 Time: 08:08:50:pm

Minister of Communications, Dr Edward Omane Boamah, has launched a national steering committee on child online protection initiative to guard children against internet abuse.

Speaking at the inauguration Monday, Dr Boamah emphasised that protecting children online is a global challenge, which requires a focused and determined approach.

He said President John Mahama remains committed to protecting children both online and offline; hence the Child Online Protection Initiative in Ghana.

A new data released by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for information and communication technology (ICT), shows that developing countries now account for the vast majority of internet users, with 2.5 billion users compared with one billion in developed countries.

The ITU launched the Child Online Protection (COP) Initiative in November 2008 as a multi-stakeholder effort within the Global Cybersecurity Agenda (GCA) framework. 

The initiative brings together partners from all sectors of the global community to create a safe and empowering online experience for children around the world.

Representatives from academia, law enforcement sector, youth sector, government institutions, parents group, telecommunications service operators, civil society organisations faith-based organisations forms the oversight committee. 

Apart from discussing issues relating to the risk and vulnerabilities facing children within cyberspace, the Committee is also responsible for producing a national framework  to protect children online. 

"Child Online Protection takes a holistic approach to promoting child online safety and developing strategies that span five key areas-call them ‘The Pentavalent Strategies’. These are legal measures, technical and procedural measures, organizational structures, capacity building and international cooperation," Dr Omane said.

The committee would serve as a forum for collecting, discussing and raising awareness of good practices and approaches on legal, technical, educational, policy and strategic frameworks adopted by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

The Minister cited research report that says more children and the youth were connecting to the internet using game consoles and mobile devices. 

According to him, many parents were unaware that young children could connect to the internet with these devices while adding that parents are of the view their children are safer accessing the internet with their home computer against using the internet from outside of the home.

"It is also not uncommon to find pedophiles, terrorists, financial crimes and war activists and hackers lurking in the corners of the tubular network of the internet ready and willing to recruit children and even adults; with the view to initiating them into their operations and eventually to turn them into pliant tools for the pursuance of their own parochial and disastrous agenda," Dr Boamah said.

"The challenge to us is to prevent the misuse of technology, in particular by adults, to exploit and abuse children. This includes an understanding of the overlap between children’s use of technology and child online abuse and exploitation, finding and removing illegal content, and combating abuse through legislation and a wide range of technical and process-based solutions," he added.

He called for all hands to be on deck in protecting children online as it is everybody’s obligation, and that the committee was guided by the principle that the interest of all Ghanaian children was paramount.

Chairman of the committee, Nene Nagai Kassa VIII, the Chief of Agomeda, was grateful for being considered by President Mahama and promised the committee's commitment to work to meet the set objectives. 

He said the committee had started preparatory work and called on members to learn from each other to ensure the success of their task.