1-in-4 kids in UAE have faced social media threats

By Angel Chan

DUBAI 21 November 2017: The price of going social is relatively high in the UAE for children as almost a quarter of them (23%) have faced threats associated with social media, according to global cybersecurity company, Kaspersky Lab.

Kaspersky, in partnership with Active Education, has embarked on a series of interactive cybersecurity performances at selected schools in Dubai – aimed at driving top of mind awareness around online safety. The performances, aimed at children aged 8-13, cover key threats that children are vulnerable to online. This includes cyberbullying, how to behave safely on social media, and the general rules of online safety.

Alex Tate, Assistant Head of Secondary at the Horizon International School, commented on a performance held at his school: “We believe that educational and engaging performances help to address the key issues faced by young people, and we are thankful that our school is taking part in this initiative. We are sure that our pupils took something key away from the performance they saw, and that they will truly ‘think’ next time they’re online”

According to Kaspersky Lab data, 80% of children in the Middle East are mostly interested in Internet communication media — in the majority of cases this is referred to as social media. Almost the same percentage goes for the children in the UAE, showing very strong social media presence of young residents of the Gulf. The second most popular online content among kids (about 7%) falls under the category of ‘software, audio and video’ and mostly refers to video sharing websites; therefore, children are prone to all the threats associated with these online platforms.

(L-R) Maria Namestnikova, Faisal Mohammed AlShimmari, Maxim Frolov
Maria Namestnikova, Faisal AlShimmari, Maxim Frolov

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. On the occasion of Universal Children’s day, I am proud to support Kaspersky Lab as they roll out their educational roadshow for children across the UAE.”