In a move to enhance child online safety, the Cyber Security Authority (CSA) with support from UNICEF-Ghana, has engaged industry stakeholders in the development of comprehensive guidelines for safeguarding children in the digital space.

In a speech read by the Lead of the Critical Information Infrastructure Protection (CIIP) Division at the CSA, Mr. Benjamin Ofori, the Director-General of the CSA, Dr. Albert Antwi-Boasiako noted the significance of developing a framework to protect the safety of children online. He emphasised that the proliferation of social media platforms and messaging apps has provided perpetrators with new avenues to exploit children.

At the consultative meeting with stakeholders held at the Tomreik Hotel, he further explained that the objective of the meeting was to provide technical assistance in formulating industry guidelines to safeguard children from online sexual exploitation and abuse. Speaking

“Through today’s extensive consultation processes involving key stakeholders from government bodies, civil society organisations, academia, and industry representatives, we seek to establish a comprehensive framework of industry guidelines that will empower stakeholders to prevent and respond effectively to online child sexual exploitation and abuse,” he added.

Additionally, he stated that the drafted legislative instrument and the National Child Online Protection (COP) Framework that is currently awaiting the approval of the Cabinet will strengthen the legal and policy regime to address online child exploitation and abuse.

The Child Online Protection Specialist at UNICEF Ghana, Ms. Miho Yoshikawa, commended the CSA's dedication to COP noting that collaborative efforts across sectors to develop the guidelines to deter online child sexual exploitation are prudent.

She highlighted the importance of industry engagements in the formation of the guidelines, adding that “cooperation from various sectors is essential in addressing the complex challenges of online child protection”.

Subsequently, an official at the CSA, Ms. Victoria Adotey, noted that the Legislative Instrument (LI) for the Cybersecurity Act 2020 (Act 1038), entails a focus on Child Online Protection which would address the issue of child access to online content and risks.

She stressed the need for robust mechanisms to protect children from harmful material while upholding their rights to access information.

Stakeholders at the meeting provided relevant actions and input to ensure the effective compilation of COP guidelines for the industry.