Online safety ‘should be taught at UAE schools’



Schools should teach pupils about the dangers of improper use of social media, education experts say.

As criminals, terrorist organisations and fake news sites use social media to prey on youngsters and spread propaganda, pupils should be taught how to spot the warning signs and stay safe online, said speakers at the Media Education Conference, organised by the Ministry of Education in Ajman on Wednesday.

“The availability of modern telecommunication devices allows people to receive lots of information and news that they share without verifying its credibility,” said Dr Mohamed Al Kuwaiti, executive director of the National Electronic Security Authority.

“This resulted in an increase in cybercrimes and scams on social media. Police receive reports about cybercrimes on a daily basis.”

Dr Habib Al Sayegh, chairman of the UAE Writers Association, highlighted the importance of proper media education in helping to shape how pupils deal with the flow of information online.

“This conference will help develop an integrated education project and provide solutions to increase students’ knowledge about online information.”

Abdul Rahman Al Hammadi, under-secretary of the Ministry of Education for Control and Support Services, said schools and parents should work together to supervise the media children and adolescents are exposed to.

“Also they should raise our children’s awareness about the negative impacts of exposure to destructive ideas presented by terrorist groups,” he said.

Ali Al Hakami, president of Inma Education, said parents would also benefit from more knowledge about social media.

“Because it is natural for parents to help youngsters with their studies at home, this will strengthen their vision and awareness on the issue. Parents’ awareness of the negative impacts and terrorist ideologies will help to tackle children’s exposure to such information.

“The media is huge and it changes every second.”

Source: The National