| Internet | ME NewsWire-Feb 08, 2015

Khalifa Student Empowerment Program Launches the Safer Internet Day on Tuesday

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Feb 08, 2015

Under the patronage of Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior; the activities of the UAE celebrations of the “Safer Internet Day” held under the title “Let's Create a Better Internet Together,” will commence day after tomorrow (Tuesday).

Major General Dr. Nasser Lakhrebani Al Nuaimi, Secretary General of the Office of HH Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior and Chairman of the Higher Committee for Khalifa Student Empowerment Program, revealed the participation of more than 35 ministries and federal, local and private entities in the activities. The activities will be supervised by the Khalifa Student Empowerment Program “Aqdar” during the period 10-14 February.

In a press conference held today Sunday at the Abu Dhabi Police General Headquarters, Major General Dr. Nasser Lakhrebani Al Nuaimi said that launching such activities represents a step towards promoting the concepts of mutual institutional work between all ministries, local and federal entities, private institutions and civil society organizations. He continued that this aims to find mechanisms to develop communications links and sustainable cooperation in line with the strategy of Khalifa Student Empowerment Program that seeks to unify efforts targeting students.

He noted: “These activities will be implement at the UAE level with the aim to raise awareness on unsafe use of the internet and misusing it. They will introduce the public on how to safely use the internet and will spread awareness on the federal law No. 5 for the year 2012 related to countering cyber-crimes and promoting positive moral and behavioral values for a better and safer internet use.”

He considered raising awareness on such issues as a highly important element, a national duty and a mutual responsibility for all concerned parties with the aim to protect our societies and children from any risks they may face on the internet. He said that the safer use of internet covers all intellectual, health, moral and social uses, and not only the moral use as some may think.

The Secretary General shed light on the role of parents in raising their children’s awareness of how to safely use the internet. He said: “parent must direct their children to safer use of the internet and new communications means. They must provide protection from any misuse or exploitation by training their children and teaching them how to protect their privacy, and the importance of refraining from posting any information, data, pictures, etc. that may be misused by others.”

He stressed the importance of limiting the times when the children are allowed to use the internet and modern communications means in order to prevent their children from becoming internet addicted. He said that parents must build a positive relationship with their children and must communicate properly with them in case they got exploited, blackmailed or threatened by someone. “Parents must also follow up with their children to see what messages or information they are receiving. They must train them on how to deal with messages sent from unknown users, and educate them about the laws related to cyber-crimes and their risks.”

Engineer Mohammed Ghiath, Director-General of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Programme for Intelligent Education; spoke during the press conference on how to create the culture of internet and technologies safe use at the present and in the future. He noted the importance of establishing a high level joint working group to unify efforts, coordinate, exchange information in order to set a comprehensive plan and methodology to raise awareness among our children, and support acquiring updated information that explain the nature and amount of improper use of the internet and technology in the UAE.

He continued: “information will enable the concerned authorities to conduct studies and research in this field; and encourage the research bodies to focus on this field too.”

He noted that technology and the internet have an increasingly pivotal role in the different economic, social and cultural fields related to the future of the United Arab Emirates, and constitute a main component in the education ecosystem of the UAE students to prepare a future generation. Thus, it is important to give attention to raising the awareness of our students.

In the context of the press conference, Colonel Expert Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Al Dabal, General Coordinator of the Khalifa Student Empowerment Program, stated that the UAE is among the advanced countries in the use of the internet. It ranks number 1 at the Arab level and number 19 at the international level on the Information and Communication Technology Development Index (IDT). It is expected that internet access will reach approximately 90% of the population this year according to the Business Monitor International (BMI) Index. Internet users in the UAE according to the 2014 statistics were 8.81 million users; accounting for (92%) of the population, and the Facebook accounts reached 5 million.

Colonel Al Dabal commented by saying that this poses a great challenge for everyone, wondering about how to benefit most from the internet and reduce its harms to the lowest level possible. He noted that a number of studies indicated that there is a problem in how the youngsters and the youths handle the internet. The studies showed that (54%) of the UAE children of the age category 8–17 experienced a bad incident while using the internet.

He added: “The challenges and problems have driven everyone to participate in the International Safer Internet Day, building on the slogan adopted for the present version ‘Let's create a better internet together’; a special slogan for the UAE has been adopted ‘Let's create a better internet in the UAE together.’ This call includes all the institutions, agencies, families and teachers; as well as individuals and the youth to act together for a safer and responsible use of the internet.”

Al Dabal noted: “The internet created huge development in the world, and caused deep and drastic changes in societies. It also contributed to facilitating access to information and news.” He shed light as well to communications between people, especially with the spread of smartphones that made internet services accessible anywhere and anytime.

Amal Al Jasmi, education expert at the Student Guidance Department in the Ministry of Education, asserted the support of the Ministry to the initiatives of its strategic partners. She also expressed her appreciation of the efforts of the Ministry of Interior in protecting the young, and developing the awareness of students towards the risks and behaviors alien to the society. Dr. Hamed Al Niyadi, Head of Knowledge Solutions Management at “Knowledge Point” for education consultations said that participation activities in the International Safer Internet Day are based on the National Document of the Khalifa Student Empowerment Program, based on two main axis; the first is: training and preparing teachers on the ethics of safe use of internet and how to convey these messages to the students; and the second is: through launching the 3rd edition of the “E-communication” contest. This contest aims to raise awareness on the manners of the internet, how to verify information, and the ethics of E-communication. It also aims to raise awareness on the Federal Law articles related to information and modern technologies crimes.



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