Mr Benjamin Akuamoah Boateng, Team Lead, Eastern Location, Plan Ghana, has expressed the commitment of the international organisation to promoting digital learning among Ghanaian children, especially girls for their holistic growth and development.
He said school children needed digital gadgets and the internet for their learning activities and should not be deterred from getting information online.
“As an organisation, we strongly believe and we are committed to ensuring that our girls access information from the internet, especially about their sexuality and health rights,” he said.
He was speaking at an event preceding the celebration of this year’s international day of the girl child at the Mampong Demonstration School for the Deaf in the Akuapem-Mampong North Municipality of Eastern Region.
Plan International joined the Demonstration School for the Deaf that has an enrolment of about 800 for the global commemoration on the theme: “Girls get equal freedom online: freedom from cyber bullying.”
It aimed at promoting digital learning in schools and boosting the confidence of girls as well as ensuring their safety, security and protection online for better information access for learning.
“We are also committed to ensuring that we promote digital learning among children, especially girls, so when it comes to resourcing the children they can be in a better position to access the internet; we are for it.”
“We want them to leave the school premises well-equipped to start life,” he added.
Mr Boateng said the organisation last week was signing a petition globally for the protection of girls online, saying, “There is no way our girls should feel deterred or discouraged from accessing information just because there is a lot of misinformation or disinformation on the internet.”
He said public discourse should not be focussed on unnecessary things on the internet to deter young people from making use of its benefit but the discourse should be directed at discussing the usefulness of the internet and how to protect the security and safety of children.
“Yes, there are a lot of useless things there on the internet, but there is also a lot of useful information that we also need, especially for their learning, for their growth and development.”
He said the 2021 theme was informed by the fact that it was about time, “We promoted digital learning among children.”
Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) John Aduko, Deputy Director, Cybercrime Unit of the Ghana Police Service, expressed worry over the growing cases of cyberbullying of young girls and called for concerted efforts to tame it.
He said many victims commit suicide because of offences such as stealing, extortion, fake information, false news, information theft, and hacking as well as unlawful interference with digital gadgets such as mobile phones.
He noted that continuous public education and involvement of parents and guardians could mitigate the situation to allow children, particularly girls to use and stay safe on the internet which has become indispensable in daily life.
“We can’t do away with the internet and computers and mobile phones, we need to educate our children more about the good aspects,” he said.
Mrs Gifty Ashun, Akuapem-Mampong North Municipal Girl Child Education Officer of the Ghana Education Service, attributed the increase in teenage pregnancies to a lack of monitoring by parents.
She called on parents and guardians to monitor their teenage girls closely online to help them to make the best out of it to improve their academic work.
The International Day of the Girl Child is on October 11 each year, a day declared by the United Nations to raise awareness of gender inequality facing girls.
This inequality includes areas such as access to education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, and protection from discrimination, violence against women and forced child marriage.