On March 6-7 ictQATAR is partnering with the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) to host a conference focusing on key online safety issues affecting the Middle East region. Here their CEO speaks out on why these events are important.
Stephen Balkam, CEO, Family Online Safety Institute
How do we harness the extraordinary potential of the Internet, while keeping our kids safe online? Can we direct children to the best of the Web while shielding them from harm, harassment or worse? These and other policy, technology and educational questions will be discussed at the upcoming, international conference, “Promoting online safety and cyber ethics in the Middle East”. This two-day event, on March 6th and 7th, is being co-hosted by ictQATAR and the Family Online Safety Institute and will attract over 250 participants from the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and the USA for two days of presentations, panels and dialogue. Also attending will be local teachers, researchers and young people to talk about how the Internet is affecting their lives.
The conference will begin with some high level scene setting – placing the issue of cyber ethics and safety in the broader context of the regional and international developments. Academics will then give presentations of the latest research into a broad range of online safety issues in order to ground the debates that follow in the actual realities of what life is like for kids and teens today in an always-on, hyper-connected world. Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites will be explored as will the tools and technologies that parents and teachers can employ to empower their kids to make the most of their online experiences.
We will hear from the young people, themselves, and seek their guidance on how best to respond to the issues and challenges we all face in navigating our digital lives. There will be a special session devoted to technology in education and the latest efforts to bring the school curriculum alive through the use of ICT, social media and interactive tools. And, local officials, ranging from psychologists to the police and child and family welfare experts will gather together to discuss the social challenges facing Qatari families.
The conference will conclude with a look at how best to set a Middle East online safety agenda. This concluding panel will debate what will be needed for government, industry and the nonprofit sector to work together for the best possible solutions to these complex challenges in the region. For further information and for free registration, go to http://www.fosi.org/fosi-events/qatar-2012.html