Unlocking the Potential of the Internet in the Middle East

March 5, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Beginning today, the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) and ictQATAR will host a joint conference: “Promoting Online Safety and Cyber Ethics in the Middle East.” The two-day event is being held in Doha, Qatar and explores the impact of the Internet on youth in the Middle East, the most effective methods of teaching cyber ethics and the state of online safety in the region.

Distinguished guests, from policymakers to industry leaders to educators, will discuss a range of issues, such as cyberbullying and other challenges kids encounter online. Panelists will also explore:

  • Positive ways youth in the Middle East use social media and the Internet to better their communities
  • The different ways young people are accessing the Internet and what they learn from going online
  • The prevalence of smart phones and their impact

Education will remain at the forefront of all of these discussions. Industry leaders will discuss tools and best practices for staying safe online at home and on the go, and methods that parents can use to monitor their kids’ digital activity. Speakers will present the benefits and importance of preparing kids for the digital world, including leveraging the Internet, mobile devices, apps, games and m-education.

“In the past year, the Middle East has truly exemplified the uplifting power of the Internet to create social change,” said Stephen Balkam, CEO of FOSI. “As such, FOSI felt it was imperative to convene a conference here in Qatar to discuss the state of online safety and cyber ethics in different parts of the world.”

“The population of the Middle East is one of the youngest in the world. It’s not surprising that our youth are embracing the Internet and new technologies. It is our responsibility to ensure they are digitally literate global citizens and that they can make safe, ethical decisions online. This conference is a valuable opportunity for the region to put cyber safety and cyber ethics at the top of our policy and educational agendas,” said Dr. Hessa Al-Jaber, ictQATAR Secretary General.

“We are pleased that FOSI and its supporting members are engaging in an international dialogue about the importance of cyber ethics,” said Kim Sanchez, FOSI Board Chair and Director of Privacy & Online Safety, Trustworthy Computing at Microsoft. “We all have a role in helping make the Internet a safer place where everyone can have more trusted experiences online.”

The conference is being held March 6 and 7, 2012 at the Qatar National Convention Center and is also sponsored by Microsoft, Google, and Vodafone. For more information please visit the Middle East Conference 2012 page on the FOSI web site.

About FOSI

The Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) works to make the online world safer for kids and their families by identifying and promoting best practices, tools and methods that also respect free speech. FOSI is a trusted, international convener, bringing together leaders in government, industry and the nonprofit sectors to collaborate and innovate new solutions in child safety in a Web 2.0 world. FOSI’s members include: AOL, AT&T, BAE Systems Detica, BT Retail, Comcast, Cyber Guardian, Disney, Entertainment Software Association, Facebook, France Telecom, Google, GSM Association, Microsoft, Motion Picture Association of America, NCTA, Nominum, Optenet, RuleSpace, Sprint, Symantec, Time Warner Cable, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, TELMEX, USTelecom, The Wireless Foundation, Verizon and Yahoo!.

About ictQATAR

The Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology (ictQATAR) connects people to the technologies that enrich their lives, drive economic development and inspire confidence in the future. ictQATAR is entrusted with two primary authorities: as the country’s independent and fair regulator of the telecommunications market, and as the government body that nurtures innovative technologies to benefit those who live and work in Qatar. www.ictQATAR.qa