38 percent of parents in Middle East struggle to protect their children online

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Children need parental supervision during their online activities. (Shutterstock)
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Children need parental supervision during their online activities. (Shutterstock)
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Children need parental supervision during their online activities. (Shutterstock)
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Children need parental supervision during their online activities. (Shutterstock)
Updated 10 February 2019

38 percent of parents in Middle East struggle to protect their children online

  • Controlling children’s use of the internet is difficult nowadays, but generally, children under 6 years should not use it
  • Preventing or setting up programs for protection is necessary, but that is not enough if there is no supervision by adults

RIYADH: While more than half of children between the ages of 6 and 9 use the internet every day, 38 percent of parents in the Middle East feel they cannot control what their children access online.
This leaves many at risk of viewing inappropriate content, becoming victims of cyberbullying, or sharing private data unintentionally, and such is the changing landscape of the web that many parents do not know how to cope.
The internet has done wonders for bridging cultures, facilitating business and improving education. But it is still a dangerous place for the uninitiated. And, as children become more technologically advanced than their parents, when still at a vulnerable stage in their development, this provides challenges for those trying to protect them.
Dr. Afnan Abdul Fattah, an orthodontic specialist at Taibah University, is a mother of two young daughters, 5 and 8 years old, and has experienced this disparity first hand.
“I do not know how to use the smart TV anymore because it is more complicated, but the TV is very simple for my children to use. They know how to switch from YouTube to cable channels and to Netflix. Sometimes I need them to do that for me,” she said.
“There are things that I do differently, if I search in Google I would type the things that I want to search for, whereas my daughter would use Siri or the microphone. She is using a faster approach, so I do really think children are advancing quite rapidly in terms of their use of technology.”
Many parents, at a loss for how to keep pace, often find themselves powerless to rein in their children’s web time.
Dr. Aisha Karman, a psychologist, believes some parents are simply not aware of the risks posed by excessive use of the internet to children.
“Controlling children’s use of the internet is difficult nowadays, but generally, children under 6 years should not use it. When children enter sites such as YouTube, there may be inappropriate clips that they might be exposed to, and without the supervision of a parent the internet is dangerous,” she said.
“Preventing or setting up programs for protection is necessary, but that is not enough if there is no supervision by adults.”
Karman believes determining time limits is important for children under the age of 12. In fact, she believes that even adults should minimize their use of internet, as it can lead to addiction.

Strong family ties
The most important thing in a young child’s life though, Karman explains, is a healthy relationship between children and their parents.
“The golden rule of any problem within the family is the ability of the parents to embrace the child, approach them and provide a good amount of love and attention. The root of protecting a child is to protect feelings and to communicate, not to make children fear their parents or fear being punished or threatened. This is the language that will protect them,” she said.
“Children should be allowed to use the internet, but must have clear boundaries. If parents are not role models for their children, there will be no clear path for their children to follow.”

Communication
As well as setting boundaries and leading by example, Karman also feels that parents must listen to their children to modify their behavior. Fighting boredom, meanwhile, is key to stopping overstimulation online, and providing suitable alternatives that satisfy children’s interests will decrease the time they spend on the internet.
“I believe that the behavior of parents with their children is the key to persuading them. I was keen to involve myself with what my children are doing or watching or playing. So I can focus on the outcomes of my children’s behavior and fix what needs to be fixed,” she added.


KSRelief medics’ timely intervention saves Yemeni infant’s life

Updated 14 min 41 sec ago

KSRelief medics’ timely intervention saves Yemeni infant’s life

  • Jana’s father thanked the medical team for saving his daughter’s life. 

MUKALLA: A volunteer medical team from the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) has saved the life of a Yemeni girl who was suffering from a severe lack of oxygen in the blood, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Jana Basheaib was born with a blockage in the pulmonary valve and a constriction of the tricuspid valve in her heart that prevented the delivery of blood to her lungs, leading to a severe lack of oxygen in her body that required urgent intervention.

Her father Adnan said he had noticed her dark blue color days after she was born, but had not been able to find treatment for her in Yemen. She was also too sick to be moved abroad. 

His brother connected him with a KSRelief team so that the 10-day-old infant could get the help she needed. 

FASTFACTS

•KSRelief is working in Yemen with comprehensive plans to alleviate people’s suffering.

•The center has implemented 363 projects across the country at a cost of $2.26 billion.

•The projects cover various sectors including food security, health and education.

Basheaib filed a report describing her condition and received an immediate response from KSRelief, saying it would send a medical team to Yemen and an appointment for surgery was made.

Basheaib took his daughter from Tarim to Mukalla, a six-hour drive. Upon arrival at the Pulse of Life Center for Cardiology, Jana was immediately admitted to the intensive care unit. The medical team arrived in time to successfully perform the surgery.

He thanked the medical team for saving his daughter’s life. 

The head of the KSRelief medical team, Prof. Jameel Ata, said: “The medical campaign comes within the framework of the voluntary campaigns to treat difficult and critical cases. This is KSRelief’s third campaign for open-heart surgeries and catheterizations for Yemeni children in less than six months.”

The medical campaigns have covered the treatment of more than 20 children from Yemen’s low-income families to alleviate their suffering.