The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Internet Safety Foundation (GISF), Mr Emmanuel Adinkrah, has called for more stakeholder engagements and education on child internet safety issues.
According to him, GISF had established that issues related to Child Online Protection must be given serious consideration by major stakeholders as it impacts the future of the country, Ghana.
Ghana has been ranked 79th among 100 countries in issues related to Child Online Protection.
As Ghana prepares to celebrate the 20th edition of the World Safer Internet Day 2023 on Tuesday, February 7, government and stakeholders must commit more resources to tackle issues of Child Online Protection.
The Child Online Safety Index (COSI) globally measures a nation’s level of online safety for children across six pillars, including Children themselves, Families, Schools, Companies, and soft and hard infrastructures of the government.
The COSI score is calculated for each country ranging from 10 (the worst) to 100 (the best). Ghana is performing creditably with its 79th position. However, the goal of the country should be in the 90th percentile.
COSI is dedicated to monitoring trends in Child Online Safety around the world with real-time updates.
The inaugural report of COSI, which examined six major pillars of support for children’s online safety across 30 countries through 145,426 children’s data, was published on Safer Internet Day in 2020.
This time around, the report broadened and increased its measurement to examine and compare countries’ performance on COSI across the six stakeholders, using data from 329,142 children and adolescents in 100 countries.
The research invites academic research and expert communities to work together.
According to Statista.com, Ghana has approximately 17 million internet users of which 89.9% use WhatsApp, 74 per cent use Facebook, 61.9 per cent use Instagram, 45.2 per cent use snapchat, 45.2 per cent use Twitter, 27.3 per cent use TikTok and 12.5 per cent use LinkedIn
It is against this background that Mr Adinkrah stressed the need for stakeholders in Ghana to do more to improve upon our internet safety issues in order to rank creditably in the global index of Child Online Safety.
He said children require protection not just in physical space, but their digital lives/persona must be protected.
They will be able to interact with experts from GISF and other organisations dedicated to internet safety and get answers to their questions on how to keep their children safe online.
He added that “GISF is proud to join the global community in the celebration of Safer Internet Day 2023”.
This year’s theme is “Together for a better internet, highlighting the role of parents and caregivers in creating a safer online environment for children and young people”.
He also lamented that most Ghanaian parents grew up in a completely different technological age without social media, multi-player games, online porn, video streaming, cyberbullying or sexting.
Mr Adinkrah indicated, “Some of us even remember the good old days of dial-up connections. Back then digital parenting meant getting the kids off the phone so you could send an email.
In today’s world, our kids are connected 24/7 – even in the classroom – so much so that the distinction between online and offline is less and less meaningful”.