The National Lead for the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-GH), under the Ministry of Communications, Audrey Mireku, has admonished the youth to take advantage of the opportunities inherent in the cyberspace to improve upon their lives.
She urges the youth to avoid engaging in cyber-related crimes and practices that negatively affect them and the nation.
Mrs Mireku mentioned mobile money fraud, impersonation, cyber-bullying, child pornography, hacking, romance fraud among others as crimes that occur in cyberspace that the youth must guard against.
She said this at a sensitization programme organised as part of the National Cyber-security Awareness Month event in the North East Regional capital, Nalerugu at the Nalerugu Senior High School.
Mrs Mireku underscored the importance of the cyber-security awareness programme and said with the level of cyber-related cases in the country, there is the need for the citizenry especially the youth who are the future leaders to be educated on the ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ of the internet.
She advised the students to be careful about the kind of messages and pictures they post online, adding that it is unacceptable and improper for people to post their nude pictures online.
Mrs Mireku said if they post their naked pictures online it will affect them in future in their efforts to get employment, contest for local or national public positions or even marriage.
She touched on Mobile money fraud and urged the participants to be careful not to be defrauded, saying if they have not signed up for any competition and someone sent them messages that they have won prizes among other fraudulent schemes, they should report to the National Cyber-security Centre.
Speaking about cyber-security incident reporting Points of Contact, Mrs. Mireku entreated the participants to endeavour to report cyber-related crimes to the National Cyber-security Centre using the various avenues.
They are Whatsapp number 050160311, call or send SMS messages to 292, email through [email protected] or download the Mobile App:NCSC Ghana for more information.
Child Online Protection
Mr. Nelson Darko, a Programme Officer for Child Online Protection under the National Cyber-security Centre, took the students through some tips on staying safe online dubbed “SMART”.
He advised the participants to stay safe online by not giving out their personal details such as phone numbers, date of birth among others, and avoid meeting up with people they have only met online.
He also advised them to desist from accepting messages, files, pictures and friend requests from strangers.
He urged the students to be mindful of the things they see online because not everything online is reliable.
Mr. Darko counselled the students to tell their caregivers, teachers and parents or trusted adults if they feel worried or not sure of someone or something online.
He also advised parents and teachers to guide the children in surfing the internet.
Madam Gladys Mariam Osman, Deputy Director, Programmes, at the National Commission for Civic Education, NCCE, highlighted the civic and moral aspects of using the internet, and advised the students to be civic conscious anytime they use internet-related platforms because whatever they do will not only negatively or positively affect them, but will impact on the image of their families, communities and the nation as a whole.
An Assistant Headmistress of the Nalerugu Senior High School Samiatu Attu said the programme was very educative and informative.
She noted that the school is confronted with cyber-related crimes as some of the students are involved in the practice.
To her, the sensitization programme is timely, as it has sensitized the students about the dangers and consequences of cyber-crime.
She said the students will now be mindful of posting nude pictures on the internet.
She advocated the organisation of trainers of trainers workshop to ensure that the school and the community have some people who will constantly educate the students and their parents on cyber-security and cyber crimes.
“We need more of the education” she stated.
A total of 1,744 students and 100 teachers participated in the programme.
The teachers and students shared their experiences with mobile money fraud, the use of nude pictures online among other cybercrimes.
A Form Three student, Safiya Sulemana, who was given a Nasco palmtop tablet for wining the cyber-security competition, thanked the Ministry of Communications for the education and appealed for the programme to be organised regularly to enable them to be abreast with issues about cyber-security.
Other students who took part in the competition were given consolation prices.
The team later visited the Nayiri’s palace, where the Paramount Chief for the Mamprugu Traditional Area, Naa Bohagu Mahami Abdulai Sheriga, noted that the presence of the sensitization team in the region is an indication that the issues of cyber-crime is prevalent.
He thus encouraged the team not to relent in their efforts at ensuring that people use the internet wisely and productively.