J Initiative calls for pragmatic steps to protect kids on cyberspace

Concerns have been raised about the safety of children in the wake of campaign to increase internet penetration and its benefit to societies and economies.

The J Initiative, a not-for-profit NGO with focus on children and women http://jinitiative.org/ , which is championing the crusade for children’s safety on the net, said it is worried adults who should know better have taken advantage of children innocence to exploit them within the cyberspace.

In a statement to mark the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) 2014, J Initiative remarked: “Celebrating this day annually is meaningless unless concrete measures are put in place at ensuring that children’s innocence is protected within the cyberspace.”

J Initiative cited instances where money is taken from children at video centers only to screen pornographic and violent movies to them.

“We have witnessed cases where young people are encouraged to stimulate fellow young people for sexual intercourse, all these happen under our noses and on the social media platforms among others,” the statement said.

It therefore entreated all stakeholders to come together to reflect and review on “how the children of Ghana can be protected from the potential dangers the affordable and accessible high-speed broadband service could bring to Ghana.”

Last March, Ghana signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Commonwealth Cybercrime Initiative (CCI) on the best approaches to deal with the threats associated with Internet use.

Dr Boamah, Minister of Communications has said his Ministry is undertaking a child online protection programme as a major priority of the government, which would be completed in September 2014.

“The dangers facing our children in cyber space are multiple and include child abuse, child pornography, hate and suicide sites and many more of which many may not be aware,” the minister said.

He stated that the protection of children against online threats had become imperative because although Ghana’s Child Protection Act 560 ensured that children were protected from all forms of abuse, it fell short of child online protection.

Dr Boamah said an amendment to the law or related laws to reflect the current electronic communication challenge that was facing children would, therefore, be considered. 

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