Protecting Qatar’s children in cyberspace

protecting our childrensIt is a good idea for parents to spend time online with children in order to learn their interests and Internet activities
By Dr Hessa al-Jaber/Doha

Today, as countries all over the world mark World Telecommunications and Information Society Day, we marvel at how the telecommunications industry has rapidly evolved from telegraphing to tweeting. The theme for this year, Protecting Children in Cyberspace, reminds of how changes in telecommunications have not only brought tremendous benefits, but also requires us to be vigilant in ensuring new technologies are used for good.

The Internet offers remarkable benefits to adults and children who can use online resources to boost school performance, expand learning, become familiar with other cultures, and maintain a network of acquaintances around the world. Evidence exists that children’s effective use of the Internet leads to student success, and ultimately, professional success.

But for all the opportunities on the Internet to help children soar, personally and scholastically, online dangers abound. Strangers, pretending to be someone else can communicate with children. Unsolicited e-mail – spam – about websites with sexually explicit material can arrive in e-mail inboxes. Requests for personal information for contests or surveys can be used in unauthorised ways.

Cyberbullying – intimidating, frightening, or threatening texts or e-mails sent to children -seems to be increasing. And countless easily accessed websites and chat rooms are filled with detailed information on extreme, vulgar, bigoted, and violent activities.

Protecting children on the Internet is both an individual and a community responsibility. Everyone who cares about young people must play a role in keeping them safe – parents, teachers, family, and friends.

At ictQATAR, through our Qatar Computer Emergency Response Team (Q-CERT), we continue to work with the Supreme Education Council (SEC) and private schools in Qatar to hold workshops for educators in both Arabic and English. Driven by the goal of promoting security awareness, the workshops help teachers develop ways to present security concerns to students in an age-appropriate fashion. Teachers also learn how to partner with families to protect children in cyberspace.

[Source: Gulf Times]

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