Youth need proper tools for safe, ethical internet use

March 10, 2012

A Qatar conference agreed that Arab youth must be equipped with the proper knowledge to use the Internet and new technologies safely and ethically.

The ictQATAR s conference, “Promoting Online Safety and Cyber Ethics in the Middle East,” said that the Middle East, as one of the youngest regions in the world, has had exponential growth in the adoption of the Internet and new technologies.

However, it warned that while the development created immense opportunities for innovation, it also presented negative elements that needed proper tackling.

Issues covered in the two-day conference, hosted in partnership with the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), included cyber bullying, social media, parental monitoring, smart phones, privacy, the role of schools, and games.

A panel focusing specifically on what Qatar was doing to protect its youth highlighted a variety of programmes taking place in local schools and emphasised the newly established National Committee for Internet Safety (NCIS).

“A central theme that emerged during the conference was the vital role parents play in ensuring online safety and cyber ethics are in place for their children,” Fatma Al Nuaimi, ictQATAR Manager of Cyber Safety and NCIS member, said, quoted by Qatar News Agency (QNA).

“Parents need to be engaged and learn about the technologies that their children are using. Many experts also highlighted the importance of empowering youth to use the Internet wisely as opposed to relying solely on filtering tools. These are certainly insights we will take into account as we develop programs for Qatar through the National Committee for Internet Safety,” she said.

The conference included speakers from Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, as well as numerous regional and international non-profit organizations specializing in cyber safety and cyber ethics.

“This conference was an important opportunity for members of Qatar’s community, including parents and teachers, to engage with regional and international experts in cyber safety and ethics,” Robin Blake, ictQATAR Executive Director of ICT & Society, said.

“The cross-cultural dialogue has allowed us all to learn new approaches in ensuring the safety of our youth online and in helping to build a fully digitally literate population in the region,” Blake said.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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