Make online safety a lifestyle – Child Online Africa

A child-focused research and advocacy non-governmental organisation, Child Online Africa, is advocating online safety as a lifestyle in Ghana.

Since November 2015, Child Online Africa has been holding an awareness and education campaign from November 1 to 30, with the aim of encouraging cyber hygiene, dubbed Nice Net November. This initiative evolved over the years from just sharing safety tips daily to media engagements, workshop sessions, and unveiling of eSafety resources.

The executive director of the organisation, Awo Aidam Amenya, says each year they look to reach at least 5000 people with relevant e-safety tips.

She says in line with their long-term campaign of promoting digital citizenship targeted at training and promoting young people’s (by extension, the general public’s) responsible and ethical use of digital platforms, COA is dedicating this year’s #NiceNetNovember to throwing a spotlight on the menace of child betting, among other vices against children.

November 2022 is set to see a surge in sporting activity, especially in the world of football, as the World Cup tournament kickoff is in less than 30 days.

“Ordinarily, sporting activities should present a good opportunity for children to have a purposeful recreational experience. However, a worrying trend of child betting and its associated illicit activities continues unabated with little or no regulation or enforcement of laws to check them,” – she stated.

Alarmed over the fact that cyberspace is getting awash with hyper bonanzas, which have the tendency of creating fertile grounds for cyber-attacks on minors, Child Online Africa is asking for measures to be rolled out to stem the tides.

Awo Aidam Amenya stated:

“We call on the Gaming Commission to scale up enforcement of relevant laws that discourage children from the business of sports betting. Section 48 of the Gaming Commission Act, Act 721 on Children states that. A person responsible for a gambling machine shall not permit a child to use the gambling machine or to enter a place where the gambling machine is operated.”

This provision of the law and all other relevant ones, she says, ought to be given special attention in order to effectively deal with child betting.

She further urged the government and legislature to consider urgent policies and laws that will further reform the gaming sector. According to her, gaming has taken on a new shape in the wake of technological advancement, hence the need for an ‘upgrade’ in the law.

She stated:

“Parents should also take a keen interest in children’s health and well-being online, focusing on building the attitudes, skills, values, and knowledge that help children become aware of how digital technology can positively or negatively influence their body and mind. This will afford them the opportunity to be entertained while avoiding the pitfalls of the Internet. As a child-centred organization, we intend to leverage our #NiceNetNovember to create more awareness and to sustain the advocacy for putting an end to Child betting.”


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