J Initiative (JI) has observed with aversion the current trend of situation in the Country as far as Child Online Protection (COP) is concerned. It was in this same country we witnessed the case of a pedophile taking advantage of a young person and fortunately the perpetrator has been prosecuted. It is in this same country we woke up one day to the news of one graduate been contacted by an extremist group to join them. These are two classical cases of grooming considered to be a consumer related risks the internet presents to children and young people of Ghana and everywhere. Young people are often vulnerable and insecure and groomers are skilled at selecting and enticing them. We cannot sit and watch as usual and blame it on law enforcement or lack of parental control only, it is a clarion call for ALL stakeholders: government, civil society, industry (Telcos & ISPs), regulators (NMC & NCA), parents, teachers, carers and the young people themselves to action.
On-line grooming by extremists or fanatical groups is a growing international concern. By this, we are saying that some young minds can become easily influenced with potentially disastrous consequences leading to young people abandoning their homes and families to join fanatical causes. There is currently heightened concern about on-line grooming by extremists who use similar tactics of pedophiles.
We wish to state here that from all the evidences adduced in the two cases we confirm our recent news update that indeed, Child Online Protection is intrinsically linked to national security. Our national security- whether it is economic or in relation to the protection of our critical national infrastructure-depends on how well we empower our youth to face the challenges and seize the opportunities presented by the Internet.
Children and young people need to be protected from the many potentially harmful effects of using the internet and educated to maximize the endless opportunities it has to offer. These must be the urgent goal of all stakeholders, led by the national government, who have a vested interest and responsibility to promote and maintain the well-being, health, safety and development of all young people. We cannot leave safe internet access to chance.
J Initiative (JI) is a child, young people and family focused organization working in the areas of: Child Literacy, Child Online Protection (COP) and Menstrual Hygiene Management.
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