More than two thirds of all UAE parents view social media as a force of good and feel that it is a positive advantage in communications, while one third of the children surveyed believe that there are dangers inherent in its use, according to Canon Middle East, the leader in imaging solutions. The findings were released following a social media seminar organised by Canon Middle East in association with the International Computer Driving License program (ICDL) GCC Foundation.
The seminar, which took place in Dubai last week, was constructed around two sessions, running concurrently, one for adults and the other for their children. The sessions focused on educating both groups on the risks inherent within use of social media and how to mitigate them.
According to the study, which asked the participants to complete a categorised form assessing the social media usage, a significant majority of parents (43%) do not post a photograph on social networking platforms such as facebook while 100% of children do upload images. However, a majority of parents still prefer telephones (71%) to contact friends and relatives, followed by text messages and e-mails (57%), facebook (50%), and Skype (21%). Surprisingly, none of the children surveyed use facebook as a tool to connect with people.
Respondents were also asked by Canon to name the most regularly visited social networking websites, with facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram being ranked highest by UAE parents. The emergence of smartphones appears to account for increased usage of social media activity, with 100% of the respondents uses a smartphone to click pictures while 64% prefers to use both a camera and smartphone.
Anurag Agrawal, Managing Director, Canon Middle East, said: “It is encouraging to see that parents view social media as a force of good. At Canon, we believe that social media, when used in a responsible manner, can enhance and protect lives as well as contribute to the creation of a knowledge-based society.”
“We at Canon are delighted to continuously work with ICDL in our endeavor to develop skills that youth require to use social media safely and beneficially. Through this unique partnership with ICDL, we feel morally responsible to ensure that the today’s youth are fully aware of the do’s and don’ts in the Internet.”
The social media seminar has been organised as part of Canon’s renewed region-wide partnership with ICDL GCC foundation, which Canon Middle East has supported for the fourth consecutive year. The seminar marked attendance by exclusive guests, including parents, students and teachers, from a selection of schools within the GEMS Education portfolio.
Jamil Ezzo, Director General of ICDL GCC, said: “While the Internet has provided tremendous benefits to humankind, it has also offered a perfect landscape for mischief and lawlessness. Priority has to be set to strengthen the partnership between home and school where strict ground rules are defined for children to use the Internet responsibly. Teachers and parents should collaborate together in protecting children against the various threats posed by the Internet, such as child exploitation, cyber bullying and online addiction.”
“During the seminar, we were taken by the growing concern expressed by the parents and by the extent of knowledge and curiosity demonstrated by the children on increasing risks faced on popular social media websites. We call on all authorities within the educational sector and all schools, public as well as private, to create a special segment during PTA meetings to coordinate efforts on raising children’s awareness. We remain committed to supporting all such efforts and working with all stakeholders to protect children from the various guises of cyber threats facing our children today. We express our gratitude to Canon for extending us the opportunity to highlight the subjects of cyber safety on social media during the said event.”
This initiative was organised in preparation for the upcoming “ICDL Summer Camp”, which is set to run across universities and centers in the GCC in July and August.