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    ictQATAR Conference Promotes Online Safety and Cyber Ethics in the Middle East

    Date published: 8 March 2012
    Source: ICT Qatar

    The Middle East, including Qatar, is one of the youngest regions in the world, and has had exponential growth in the adoption of the Internet and new technologies.

    This creates immense opportunities for innovation, however the Arab youth must be equipped with the knowledge to use these technologies safely and ethically to realize their full potential.

    This was the central focus of ictQATAR’s recent conference, “Promoting Online Safety and Cyber Ethics in the Middle East,” which was held March 6-7 in Doha. The conference was hosted in partnership with the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI).

    “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.

    The cross-cultural dialogue has allowed us all to learn new approaches in ensuring the safety of our youth online and inhelping to build a fully digitally literate population in the region,” said Robin Blake, ictQATAR Executive Director of ICT & Society.

    Over the two-day conference, a range of specific issues were covered, including cyber bullying, social media, parental monitoring, smart phones, privacy, the role of schools, and games.

    One panel focused specifically what Qatar is doing to protect its youth. The panel highlighted a variety of programs taking place in local schools, and also showcased the newly established National Committee for Internet Safety (NCIS), which was lauded by international experts as a proactive, multi-sector initiative.

    “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. 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,” said Fatma Al-Noaimi, ictQATAR Manager of Cyber Safety and NCIS member.

    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. Presentations for the event will be available online in the near future at www.ictQATAR.qa and www.fosi.org.

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