The Youth Church of the Keeper’s House Chapel International have been urged to be conscious users of the internet to avoid being victims of blackmail and cyber fraud.
A team from the University of Ghana’s Department of Communication Studies visited the church as part of the Department’s media and information literacy intervention for religious organizations dubbed “Youth & Cyber Security”.
The team was made up of Dr. Abena Animwaa Yeboah-Banin, the Head of the Department, Mr. Maximus Ametorgoh, a digital marketing strategist, social media coach and technology consultant and Dr. Theodora Dame Adjin-Tettey, a lecturer in the Department.
Dr. Yeboah-Banin told the youth that there are individuals who deliberately put false information on the internet to lure users into consuming malicious content.
“There are people who are putting information online that is not wholesome, healthy, and not good. Their interests are not aligned with your well-being, and so they put information there to get you to click on and this will lead you to pages that you did not intend to view”, she noted.
She also explained how users become victims of cybersecurity breaches through clickbait.
“It is not everything online that is good for your consumption. Remember that there are blackmailers and liars online, so be conscious of what you click while using the internet. Do not click or share just anything you see on the internet.”
Dr. Yeboah-Banin further noted that taking steps, such as checking the sources of the information they see on the internet, will constrain them from misinforming others.
Mr. Ametorgoh took the members through some tactics cyber criminals adopt to lure their victims.
Using the story of a chicken which kept pecking on a corn, he stated that links that bear headings to things the user is interested is usually used as a bait for them to click on links that lead to potentially unwholesome content.
He explained how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is aiding the monitoring of users’ online activities and how that influences what they pay attention to on the Internet.
He said: “With the existence of Artificial Intelligence, videos, and pages that you view will be suggested to you, but the pages actually contain wrong and harmful content that can be used against you.”
He urged the youth to abstain from clicking links that they do not trust and to be mindful the kinds of content, particularly pictures and videos, they also post online, as it would have negative consequences in the future.
“You are building a document for your life for the future with what you share online. In the future when you are looking for a job, your employers may search for you online to see what you are really known for”, he said.
At the end of the session, participants expressed their excitement about the opportunity to learn about the existence of fake news and the need to desist from clicking and sharing links that they are not sure about.
The media and information literacy intervention is being organized with funding from the High Commission of Canada to Ghana. The team have visited three sites since its inception and will be visiting more religious organizations in the coming days.
Story by: Dillion Brown | MA Student, University of Ghana Department of Communication Studies