Supervise children when they are online

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which hit Ghana in March this year posed a lot of challenges to Ghanaians, notable among them is the closure of schools for safety reasons.

As a result the use of the internet by children has increased significantly as they get the opportunity to be educated by mostly using the internet to access information while at home and also interact with others. Unfortunately, some abuse this opportunity.

Schools have been organising online classes for children to complete their academic work and to ensure that the children do not miss much academically while at home.

Although children use the internet to access information and to educate themselves, the danger is that some may be tempted to visit unsuitable sites that may harm them as parents are busy and most often not around to monitor closely what their children do online.

Due to technological advancement it is now common for children to use mobile phones, tablets, laptops and other electronic media or communication gadgets   for their assignments.

What is so disturbing is that some children are so addicted to the internet that even while eating, they are still glued to their phones and browse alongside but this behaviour must be checked. This is not about child rights, it is more of protection and security.

With the growing trend in cyber crime, children are at risk and need to be guided for security reasons, therefore, parents or care-givers must be vigilant and inculcate in the children the need to be honest and self-disciplined to avoid being lured by predators.

Children are curious and vulnerable to all forms of attacks by these fraudsters who usually hide their real identities and use fake images to lure children and engage them in a hearty chat online.

There have been cases where parents have also set bad precedence to their children by watching harmful movies with them thus allowing these innocent children to imitate blindly.

The Spectator is worried about children being exposed to all forms of attacks online and so urges stakeholders, especially parents to support the Child Online Protection (COP) initiative launched by the United Nations Agency for Information Communication Technology (ICT), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to protect children while they are online. This is spearheaded by the National Communications Authority (NCA).

In this era of COVID-19 where when most children are home, they become bored and want to entertain themselves by going online as an option but parents can find alternative means to occupy their children.

In this technological age you cannot isolate your children by refusing them the use of the phone or going online but they must be guided and monitored closely as the online environment is risky for them.

Parents who are educated must avail themselves and discuss online safety issues with their children by advising them not to interact with strangers and divulge vital information about themselves to others.

Supervise children when they are online.    

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