- More than 23 percent of UAE parents think their children have been threatened through social media
- Children are becoming increasingly vulnerable to online threats
- 10 percent of kids in the UAE have used the Internet to meet dangerous people offline
- Eight percent have been subject to cyberbullying and seven percent shared too much personal information online
Over 23 percent of parents in the UAE reported that their children's online safety had been compromised as a result of using social media, a recent survey by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International has revealed.
The report - that included 8-13 year-olds, also suggests that 10 percent of kids have used the Internet to meet dangerous people offline, eight percent have been cyberbullied, seven percent have shared too much personal information about themselves, and seven percent have been exposed to deliberately hurtful and malicious messages from strangers through social media.
Children are becoming more and more vulnerable to online threats. And hence, it is crucial that they are counseled about how to behave wisely and cautiously when they are on social networks.
Faisal Mohammed AlShimmari, Emirati child protection activist said: "Online safety for children and raising awareness on identifying and responding to online threats is a key focus area of the UAE leadership. Through initiatives such as the newly-launched Emirates Child Protection Association, the UAE is taking a global leadership role in identifying and addressing new threats facing children, and working in partnership with global experts to mitigate these risks."
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Keeping threats related to social networks at bay is not a child's play. But children can be taught to make it easy. They should be told to be "friends" online with only those who they know personally. Besides, kids must be made aware that going overboard on giving out personal information online could be damaging as this can be misused by abusers. Teaching them the risks involved in opening links from unknown recipients is crucial too, say cyber experts.
Maria Namestnikova, children's online safety expert at Kaspersky Lab, said: "Considering the fact that the internet is not going anywhere, there has never been a more important time to truly educate children about online safety and the dangers the online world can present to them, to ensure that they can equip themselves to enjoy online experiences safely."
Education about online threats holds the key to fight them off. Many modules and programmes are being chalked out to combat the dangers of the internet
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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