Following the upsurge in cyberbullying and other cyber threats on social media platforms, the Cyber Security Authority (CSA) has developed a framework for the protection of children online

The Director-General of the CSA, Dr. Albert Antwi-Boasiako, announced this in a speech delivered on his behalf recently at a cybersecurity awareness seminar organised by the Takoradi Technical University (TTU) in the Western Region.

He indicated that the framework leverages the Cybersecurity Act, 2020 (Act 1038), and the Data Protection Act, 2012 (Act 843), outlining comprehensive measures to promote responsible online conduct among students.

“The framework will include awareness campaigns, educational programmes, and guidelines for responsible online behaviour,” he said, adding that the initiative was essential to helping students navigate the digital world safely and responsibly.

Dr. Antwi-Boasiako urged the students and their peers from other institutions to cultivate a positive online reputation reflecting their values, noting that “everything you post or share online leaves a digital footprint accessible by university admissions, employers, and others.”

He intimated that digital footprints could significantly impact personal and professional life, potentially affecting scholarship opportunities or leading to disciplinary actions, for which reason he cautioned the students to be mindful of their online activities.

The Director-General highlighted immediate risks associated with irresponsible online activities such as cyberbullying, online harassment, fraud, sextortion, blackmail, and reputational damage.

The Director of Quality Assurance and Academic Planning, Prof. Ebenezer Boakye, who represented the Vice Chancellor of the TTU, advised students, particularly those pursuing programmes in computer science and information technology, to familiarise themselves with the Cybersecurity Act 1038.

“As future leaders and innovators, understanding cybersecurity is crucial. It is imperative to grasp the Act and its implications and recognise the significance of cybersecurity in our daily lives,” he said.

Prof. Boakye warned of stringent university policies against cybercrimes and social media offences, cautioning that violations could result in severe disciplinary actions, including expulsion.

The Dean of Students Affairs at TTU, Prof. Bruce Amartey Jr., explained that the seminar aimed to address the increasing instances of cyberbullying, sexual extortion, and the spread of explicit content, which threaten student safety and the institution’s reputation.

“We aim to empower our students to make informed decisions, protect their privacy, and uphold ethical standards online. By promoting responsible use of technology, we can foster a safer and more respectful online community,” he stated.

A presentation delivered by the Deputy Western Police Regional Commander, ACP Dr. Francis Tsidi, gave an overview of what constitutes cybercrime as he highlighted activities such as hacking, cyberstalking, and child soliciting that could result in severe penalties, including fines up to GH¢5,000 or imprisonment ranging between five and ten years.