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Social media caution for GCC youth


Director general of ICDL urges all parents to speak to their children about cyber threats.

May 28, 2013 6:32 by

With Facebook users in the Arab world topping 45 million last June, and its usage tripling in the past two years, Jamil Ezzo is reminding and cautioning all parents to educate their children about the sometimes malicious consequences of social media.

Director general of ICDL GCC – an organisation that promotes digital skills and cyber safety across the region – Ezzo says that while technology is here to stay and social platforms have continued to serve as effective vehicles for social interaction. The GCC youth need to remember it can just as easily be abused and exploited by people with malicious intent.

Ezzo highlights the need to address online safety in using social networking is particularly significant in the Gulf where Smartphone and Internet penetration rates are high, and children have access to mobile devices.

According to Ezzo, many children can find it difficult to distinguish between real life and virtual reality and that when they use social media – whether to play games, interact with friends and family, or post videos and photos – they need to understand that the Internet is full of people who can access their personal and private information.

“We encourage parents to talk to their children about social networking. They can even make this a family affair. By being their children’s ‘friends’ online, parents can monitor their activities and list of friends while networking,” he said.

ICDL GCC has partnered with law enforcement agencies, educational institutions and other government organisations across the GCC in a bid to protect children from cyber threats including exploitation, bullying and addiction and will visit schools as part of a campaign to raise awareness on the subject amongst teachers and parents.

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