By Lydia Asamoah, GNA
Accra, April 28, GNA - Digital literacy should be incorporated into the ICT curriculum of schools so the discussion on online safety and security is started at an early age, stakeholders has said.
They have also called for refresher training programmes for ICT teachers on digital literacy knowledge assessment, so they could impart such knowledge to the school children.
“Educators should no longer see young people as just consumers of media but producers as well in order to build their skills to match”, Ms Awo Aidam Amenya, Executive Director of J Initiative said in the discussion.
At a Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) stakeholders’ forum, held in Accra, participants also emphasized on the need to partner government to develop user services that will protect women and children to ensure their safety on the internet.
The forum held on the theme: “Internet Rights for Women and Children in Ghana”, was part of activities being undertaken under the MFWA’s internet freedom project.
In a presentation, Ms Amenyah, said at the moment, Ghana did not have a clear provision focusing on the protection of children online, no legislation that criminalized online grooming, cyber bullying.
There was also no legislation criminalizing access or visualization of child pornography, which were among critical challenges confronting children who use the internet.
She said although there were laws in Ghana that protected children, the issues of child online protection was not in the existing category.
She said it was the duty of government to rollout a plan, which should take into consideration online risks faced by children and address them with a blend of approaches that included legislative, self- and co-regulatory, technical, awareness and educational measures, as well as positive content provision and best practices like child safety zones.
Ms Amenyah called for refresher training programmes for teachers and ICT teachers on digital literacy knowledge assessment.
She advised children and young people to learn the netiquette, and terms of conditions to understand before they signed up on to a site, adding, “Children should be mindful of their digital footprint”.
Ms Dora Mawutor explained that the convening of the forum was to share with participants, a recent analysis and production of a report by MFWA on Child Online Protection and Gender Dimensions on Internet Rights in Ghana.
She said the public was largely unaware of the threats and risks the internet possess to children, and young people and women, and there was the need for stakeholders to come together and work collaboratively to improve the safety of children and women within cyberspace.
The reports highlighted issues that were currently impacting access and use of the internet by both women and children with recommendations to relevant stakeholders.
The policy brief offers a contextual analysis of the current Child Online Protection (COP) environment in Ghana and gives important recommendations on how to ensure that children can utilise the opportunities the Internet offers without the potential adverse effects.
Ms Julian Abbeyquaye, Assistant Programme Officer at the Department of Gender, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, said government was already in partnerships with various stakeholders to create a safer and secured internet environment for children and women.
Mr Derrick Laryea, Head of Research and Communications at Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, said majority of issues on online safety could be handled and addressed at home by parents and guardians who should be vigilant and regulate the usage of internet by children.