Dubai: Shaikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, president of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs of Sharjah (SCFA), called on social and academic institutions to adopt rigorous scientific standards when sensitizing families , children and young people on cybersecurity. She said children should be educated on how to overcome the myriad challenges of rapid technological advancement.
Protect children and young people
Shaikha Jawaher said the latest report from the Department of Child Safety (CSD), an affiliate of the SCFA, found that a considerable percentage of families are not fully aware of the dangers of the Internet, and pointed out that a Such a percentage, however small it was, was not acceptable with regard to the safety of children and young people.
Shaikha Jawaher made the comments following the publication of the results of the research study “Community Awareness on Safe Use of the Internet and Social Media Sites” conducted by CSD under its guidance and support.
The CSD study, conducted over a period of 14 months, surveyed 12,344 households in Sharjah, including Emirati families and expatriate residents in the suburban administrative divisions of the city of Sharjah.
The study found that 72.3% of families allow their children to use smart devices. It also found that 37.6% of parents do not check their children’s internet activities and that gaming sites and YouTube are the main sites their children frequent. The study also found that 55.5% of respondents used parental control programs to monitor the websites their children accessed and the social media apps they downloaded.
Sound caution on cyber traps
Shaikha Jawaher encouraged all stakeholders to be aware of the report’s findings. She said, “We expect all stakeholders in our community to review the findings of the CSD study and incorporate them into their strategies and programs that target families, children and youth. As with all research studies, we also expect to receive contributions from specialist academic entities to deepen and review its findings. Further studies need to be carried out to expand our knowledge about the safety of children and young people, as their safety is the safety of the nation and their safety is the safety of our future, ”His Highness said stressing the importance of these. studies and the need to develop them further.
Responsible use of digital tools
Shaikha Jawaher stressed that while digital communication is essential, it is important to reap the benefits without falling prey to cybersecurity issues. She said: “The rapid development of digital communication tools has many advantages, but also highlights several challenges. Boycotting technology to avoid its drawbacks is not a plausible solution as these technologies are necessary for education, skills development and communication with others. Therefore, more proactive measures are needed, such as providing advice to our children and being vigilant about their activities. We need to focus on prevention methods instead of trying to tackle just the negative impact. We are convinced that this goal can be achieved through diligent work and cooperation between various segments of society and its institutions. This is what our wise leaders urge us to do, and entities in the public and private sectors agree on its importance. “
Reap the benefits without victimization
“We want everyone to benefit from cybersecurity studies and integrate their findings into daily practices and targeted programs. Parents should also encourage open communication between family members and be active listeners, in addition to being attentive to any psychological or behavioral changes that may occur in children and adolescents, ”she added.