Children have been advised to stay smart when using the internet in order not to fall victims to cyber-attacks, bullying, sextortion and other cyber related crimes.
This is because children are among the most vulnerable group of people who are likely to fall victims to cyber-attacks.
Speaking at a workshop on “Cyber hygiene best practices for school children” at the Accra Digital Centre on Tuesday, October 6, 2020, the Child Online Protection Lead at the National Cyber Security Centre, Ms Lawuratu Musah-Saaka, explained that children are often targeted by cyber exploiters.
She noted, for instance, that a study conducted by the UNICEF in 2017, revealed that 82 per cent of children were at risk of being exposed to sexual images on the internet.
That, she added, the study further revealed that four in every 20 children had seen sexual images on the internet before, pointing out that at least two in every 10 children had met someone they met on the internet face-to-face.
Ms Musah-Saaka stressed that because of the rampant cyber-attacks targeted at children on the internet, there was the need to arm children with the needed information to enable them stay safe when using the internet.
That, she explained, was part of the reasons the workshop was organised for the school children, stressing that creating awareness on cyber safety will help children to use the in a secure manner.
The Ministry of Communications through the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) on October 1, this year, launched the Child Online Protection Reporting Portal to enhance the country’s preventive and reactive interventions in addressing child online safety issues.
The Child Online Protection Reporting Portal was launched during the opening of this year’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month which is on the theme: “Cybersecurity in the Era of COVID-19”.
The launching of the Child Online Protection Reporting Portal would help to receive reports of Child Sexual Abuse Materials available on the internet.
The month-long National Cybersecurity Awareness observation is meant to educate children, the public, businesses and government stakeholders on cyber hygiene best practices, consistent with the Safer Digital Ghana campaign.
The workshop brought together school children and their teachers from the various schools in the Greater Accra region.
During the workshop, a short drama was staged by some school children to draw attention to the various ways by which children could become victims of cybercrimes and how to deal with such situations.
Similarly, a panel discussion involving school children was also held to further give opportunity to the panel members, who were children to share their experiences on the internet.
Ms Musah-Saaka also encouraged children to refrain from the practice of divulging their personal information to people they meet on the internet as well as desist from meeting in person, people they encounter on the internet.
In his welcome address, the National Cyber Security Advisor, Dr Albert Antwi-Boasiako, said the risks children faced on the internet are not only cyber problems but social problems as well.
That, he noted, the National Cyber Security Centre was working assiduously to create a safe cyber space for all internet users in the country, particularly children.
He, however, urged children to report to trusted adults or their parents any suspicious characters or information they may come across on the internet in order not to fall prey to cyber attackers.
Dr Antwi-Boasiako said education on the risks on the internet will be extended to other school children in all the 16 regions of the country.