Parents have been entreated to be concerned about what their children use the internet for and guide them to ensure that they derive maximum benefit from it.
A programme Officer for Child Online Protection at the National Cyber-security Centre of the Ministry of Communications, Nelson Darko, says failure to do this may result in the abuse, misuse and the production of cyber criminals.
“Providing internet related gadgets for children or young adults without supervision is not unacceptable”she noted.
Mr. Nelson Darko said this at a Cyber-security Awareness programme organised for students and teachers at Bunkpurugu Senior High Technical School in the Bunkpurugu-Nakpanduri District of the North East Region.
He said the internet being an important innovation and asset to the world, also has its risks, hence the need for children to be supervised to use it wisely for academic purposes and for other essential activities.
Mr. Darko took the students through the “Dos” and “Don’ts” of the internet, and highlighted the need for the students not to post their naked pictures online, avoid sharing their passwords with people, and accepting messages, files and friend requests from people they don’t know.
He advised them to create strong passwords that will make it difficult for hackers to break into their accounts or data online.
Mr. Darko told the students that it is not everything they see online that is reliable, adding that a number of information on the internet are fake and risky. To this end, he advised them to check with trusted adults on any content they find on the internet.
One of the students narrated how the education and the social life of a girl whose sex video with the boyfriend went viral online were affected.
She said the girl could not come out in public for months thereby affecting her entire life.
The National Lead for the Computer Emergency Response Team, CERT-GH, under the Ministry of Communications, Mrs. Audrey Mireku, took the students through some tips on staying safe online.
She emphasized the need for the children to stay safe online by desisting from giving out their personal information to people.
She said it is inappropriate for the students to meet up with people they have only met on the internet since it is dangerous, adding that they can either be harmed sexually, kidnapped or their personal items taken from them.
Mrs. Mireku encouraged the students to try and tell parents, guardians and adults they trust, if someone or something makes them uncomfortable on the internet.
She said common risks online including child pornography, mobile money fraud, fake news, cyber-bullying, and romance fraud, should be avoided.
Mrs. Mireku also advised the students and teachers to use the National Cyber-security Centre’s Points of Contact to report cyber-crimes to ensure that bad practices online are stopped.
Osman Abdul-Samed, a Deputy Director with the Ministry of Communications, lectured the students on the productive use of the internet, and entreated them to take full advantage of the cyberspace since it has become part of life.
He said the internet can be used for research and academic work, transactions, buying and selling among various useful activities.
Mr. Abdul-Samed advised the children to focus their energies on the positive use of the cyberspace.
Madam Gladys Miriam Osman, Deputy Director, Programmes at the National Commission for Civic Education, NCCE, urged the students to share the knowledge acquired during the sensitization programme with their colleagues and parents so they can be guided in the use of the internet.
She reminded the participants that the bad pictures they post online from their phones and other gadgets do not leave the cyberspace as they are stored in the clouds and may pop up again.
Those nude pictures, she noted, will be used against them in the future.
The Assistant Headmaster in charge of Academics, Bunkpurugu Senior High Technical School, Laaribik Baariyan, said the programme was good and very educative.
With the education, he said both teachers and students will now be careful about what they do on the internet.
“The programme was good but very short, you should find time and come back” he requested.
He commended the team for reaching out to Bunkpurugu which shares border with Nothern Togo with the message on Cyber-security.
A total of 1,194 students participated in the programme, and 59 teachers also benefited.
Sandra Asinale, a Form Three Home Economics student won a palmtop tablet from Nasco for emerging the best in the cyber-security competition.
Other students who took part in the competition were also given consolation prices.
This year’s National Cyber-security Awareness Month programme is under the theme: “Demonstrating Ghana’s Cyber-security Readiness”.