'Terrifying' teen behaviour online
Manama, September 30, 2013
Experts have registered a "terrifying" spike in cyber bullying in Bahrain that is manifesting in schools across the country, a report said.
They say 43 per cent of teenagers, aged between 14 and 18, are putting their lives at risk by going out with strangers they meet online, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
The shocking figures were revealed by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), which released details of its survey at a press conference held at its headquarters in Seef yesterday.
It has also launched a nationwide campaign to protect the country's children from cybercrime and cyber threats, including bullying, the report said.
Bahrain's telecommunications watchdog has set up an interactive website, safesurf.bh, to train parents on how to monitor their children's online activities.
"This campaign is not only for Bahrain but for the whole world to access as it is online," said TRA chairman Dr Mohammed Al Amer.
"The information and advice has been derived from extensive studies that have been done on children's use of the Internet.
"The findings were terrifying. Cyber bullying is on the rise in Bahrain and is expanding in schools across the country.
"But one of the most disturbing facts is that 43 per cent of children, aged between 14 and 18, have met up with strangers that they met online.
"That alone has been enough for us to start this campaign."
The website is the first phase of the campaign and experts will continue conducting studies into the best ways to detour children from cybercrime and criminals.
Experts also hope the campaign will increase awareness about the dangers of cyber bullying.
"The hope is that parents will start to teach their children that bullying online is just as unacceptable as it is in school," said TRA cyber safety specialist Mariam Al Mannai.
"Yet we realise that children are very smart online and will outsmart their parents so this website will only offer tips and advice to parents and they will have to instil the morality in their children.
"It is a sociological drive where parents will be able to share stories and communicate together to find solutions.
"It will bring out ideas not common in local society like appropriate online communication and sharing information online.
"The campaign's information is already being utilised by other countries in the region like Jordan."
Also present at the Press conference were TRA information and communication technology manager Mohammed Al Noaimi and general director Mohammed Hamad Bubshait. - TradeArabia News Service