Over 68% of parents in the Middle East do not feel that they are best placed to teach children about online safety, with the majority believing their child will learn more about Internet safety from their peers or school than themselves, according to a survey by Yahoo! Maktoob Research, marking the annual global Safer Internet Day on 7th February 2012.
The new survey shows that 43% of parents polled believe their children will learn more from their friends, and 42% believe that schools are best in helping kids learn about online safety.
When it comes to how much parents feel the schools need to dedicate to the subject, 51% of those surveyed believe online safety should be an on-going discussion throughout the school year. This percentage was higher for parents of kids between 14-17 years, which showed 66% believing that the topic needs to be consistently addressed at schools.
“We know that parents are aware of the importance of online safety, but sometimes the lack of knowledge or tools prevents them from being able to take a more active role on the matter. This is why at Yahoo! Maktoob, we have introduced a special online resource called Yahoo! Safety Oasis, which is aimed at engaging families and educators in providing support resources that educate, entertain and reward children about the incredible potentials for online learning, as well as how to safely surf the net through enhanced digital literacy. A number of schools and educational initiatives have also integrated Yahoo! Safety Oasis into their programs because of the understanding of the important role they play in raising awareness,” said Andy Abbar, Head of Global and Regional Product Management, Yahoo! Middle East.
Through attractive online “edu-tainment” activities offered in Arabic and English, Yahoo! Safety Oasis (http://esafe.yahoo.com/) educates children about how to properly surf the net and protect their personal privacy. It also focuses on increasing parental knowledge of Internet safety and supports those in the field of education to provide resources and training for youth engagement.
Some simple guidelines for parents to help shape a safe, healthy online experience for your children:
KEEP CURRENT • KEEP COMMUNICATING • KEEP CHECKING
KEEP CURRENT with the technology your children use. You don’t have to be an expert, but a little understanding goes a long way toward keeping them safe online.
KEEP COMMUNICATING with your children about everything they experience on the Internet. Know their lingo. Ask when you don’t understand something. Keep the lines of communication open.
KEEP CHECKING your children’s Internet activity. Know where they go online. Let them know that you'll keep checking because you want them to understand that the Internet is a public forum and never truly private. Everything they do online contributes to their digital reputation. Help them develop an online reputation that is an asset rather than a liability.
Safer Internet Day is a global event for promoting safety online, with this year’s theme is “Connecting generations and educating each other. Discover the digital world together... safely!” Safer Internet Day, is sponsored by Insafe, an organization dedicated to promoting responsible use of the Internet and mobile devices to young people.