Gender Ministry, UNICEF resolve to tackle cyber child abuse

Cyber fraudA recent research by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSP) reveals that three per cent of the sampled school children have been exposed to pornographic materials.

It also reveals that 17 per cent have been exposed to “sexting” online with mobile phones in schools; while nine per cent have engaged in sex acts on their phones.

Nana Oye Lithur the Sector Minister, dialoguing with the Ministry’s key partners in Accra, said cyber violence was an emerging child protection issue that if not properly regulated, could create a space with undesirable consequences.

She, therefore, advocated the proper regulation of the Internet and an in-depth research into the dangers of the internet to gain a greater understanding for legal reforms.

The event, the fourth in the series of the annual dialogues, was under the theme: “National Gender Dialogue on Emerging Child Protection Issues in Ghana.

The event includes a panel discussion with child protection experts and an open forum that would look at the gender dynamics of violence against children, focusing on their socio-cultural environment, which are porous to contemporary influences.

Nana Oye said due to the increased accessibility to the Internet with little or no supervision, combating online violence such as pornography, appeared to be a challenging task for all stakeholders.

Cyber-crimes against children come in diverse forms such as cyber bullying, child pornography, online sexual exploitation and a network for child sex tourism and trafficking, among others.

Nana Oye said the fourth national dialogue would, therefore, promote awareness on emerging child protection issues and galvanise public support for embracing child protection as a key component of child development.

Madam Susan Ngongi, the UNICEF Representative, said her outfit was ready to provide funding for an in-depth national research to gather information on how to make the Internet safe for children.

She advocated the development of a more robust-based approach to deal with the emerging issues as they unfolded.

The Ministry, in collaboration with UNICEF and other development partners, have, therefore, resolved to strengthen their efforts in addressing the challenges posed by emerging child protection issues, especially cyber violence.

They jointly stated in the resolution that violence in every form was detrimental to the growth and development of the child and thus had severe impacts on the progress of the nation and, therefore, was unacceptable by law and must be eliminated to ensure child safety and proper growth.

The current threat of ungraded negative content of the Internet, they said, threatened the security, moral and psychological development of children.

The dialogue would, therefore, promote greater understanding of violence against children, including those that were perpetrated via the Internet and its gender dynamics.

The event would additionally help in building synergies among key stakeholders to promote a robust child protection system, create a platform for discussing practical strategies for effective and efficient child protection systems that adequately address issues, and the development of effective strategies and measures to ensure their security from the dangers posed by negative online and cyber contents.

Source: GNA

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