Ghana: Parents Advised to Control Content On Children's Phones

An Information Systems Security Expert, Dr Selasie Ocansey, has urged parents to be abreast of how to turn on parental controls on mobile and other electronic devices to which their children have access.

Parental controls are software or device-specific options that allow parents to monitor their child's internet use and restrict the content or applications they could access online.

According toDrOcansey who is a lecturer at the Department of Information Technology (IT) Studies of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), this would keep them safe from the increasing online risks.

He gave the advice when he addressed the Technology Trends and Awareness Webinar Series organised by the Department on Thursday on the theme "How to protect your child online."

The virtual event, open to academic, students and the public aims to raise awareness of digital technology developments and their implications for individuals,organisations, and society.

DrOcansey said some parental control software which were easy to use included Nortonfamily, Google family link, Microsoft familylink, Kaspersky family,Qustodio and Bark.

He said they could be activated in browsers, routers, mobile devices and smart Television to limit the time children spend online as well as monitor their location and that of other family members.

As part of his presentation, he demonstrated how these controls work.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic and its restrictions resulted in people including children spending more time online, thereby increasing their risk to negativeexperience andinteractions.

"Children can be exploited while they are online by adult who are not concerned about their welfare. Children can be groomed for sexual exploitation and crime", he said.

DrOcansey said despite the good uses of the digital world, issues children faced included screen time , cyberbullying , sexting , fake news and inappropriate which had negative effect on the children.

Referencing data from Statista,an online platform, he said, games playing was the most popular online activity engaged in by children worldwide on mobile devices as of September 2021, followedby, watching YouTubevideos,working on school assignment and communicating with family and friends.

Aside from using technology, and given how smart children were in finding ways around some software, he encouraged parents to spend more time with their children in order to know what they are exposed to.

Asked about how early or late parents should be exposed to mobile devices, he said it was hinged on the parent's choice,"but boundaries should be set to keep them safe."

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