Saudi parents find unique ways to keep an eye on their children’s online activities

According to the survey, 76 percent of children consume vlog content. (ArabsStock)
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Updated 10 July 2020

Saudi parents find unique ways to keep an eye on their children’s online activities

  • 23 percent of parents in Saudi Arabia are unaware of the online media their children consume

JEDDAH: With children immersed in the technology of today, ensuring their safety is a hot topic. Many parents have found unique ways to keep a watchful eye on their children’s online activity.
A recent study by cybersecurity company Kaspersky found that 23 percent of parents in Saudi Arabia are unaware of the online media their children consume. Parents in this day and age have to constantly educate themselves to understand what their children are up to and the trends they follow.
According to the survey, 76 percent of children consume vlog content. Of this amount, 71 percent watch content on games and toys, 41 percent watch computer gaming vlogs, 39 percent watch movie content and 37 percent view music-related material.
The issue has caused family conflict across the Kingdom, with 60 percent of parents complaining that their children spend too much time on the internet, and 50 percent saying they do nothing useful online.
Andrey Sdenko, lead web content analyst at Kaspersky, said: “Being digitally educated and involved in social media activities is a must do for a parent nowadays, as the lack of knowledge in this field can trigger some conflicts in the family.”
He added: “In order to understand your child, to be able to communicate with them and discuss certain modern trends of an evolving world, you have to read more and be present on the internet.”
Rafa Saeedi, a working mother of three, cautioned against monitoring children too closely. “You cannot be a hawk all the time; sometimes my kids would lock themselves in their rooms and watch YouTube where I don’t have access to them. Sometimes the same channel that has children’s cartoons will also upload material that is inappropriate even for adults. When this happens, I have to report them constantly,” she said.
She added that she found different means of monitoring her children, such as using the same iCloud account where she can view their search history.
Parents cannot ignore the stark reality that the internet and devices are an important aspect of everyone’s lives these days, children included.
All the mothers that Arab News interviewed agreed on the same point — keeping a constant eye on children is not possible and may damage relationships.
Amal Turkistani, a mother of five, said she tries her best to oversee content, but not in an overbearing manner. She urged vigilance, but said: “These kids are bestowed upon us like a gift; we must preserve them. They shouldn’t know that you are monitoring them because it can affect them.”
Siwar Bandar, a mother of two daughters, said that she definitely monitors her kids.
“A big part of social media evolution over the decade has meant that parents have to be aware of what children are consuming. The question for me isn’t whether they will be exposed to social media or not; the question is how do I raise digitally responsible individuals,” she said. “We had a conversation about how long they want to spend on the internet and what programs they were allowed to watch. I would rather give them a phone when they are older and they shouldn’t be used in the bedroom and in public spaces,” she added.
Turkistani said she set up her son’s gaming area in the living room instead of his bedroom so he can be in an open space where she can watch him without imposing on his private space.
“I don’t recommend leaving children in early development unattended, because they are not aware of what is out there on the internet,” she said.
Some mothers suggested using parental controls on apps to filter and block inappropriate content and set time limits on how long children can stay online.
Rafa Saeedi said she lets her kids watch silly things as long as it is not doing them any harm
“Parents have to keep up with their kids, and be involved with what the kids consume,” she said.
“I am trying my best to be a good mother, but you can not be perfect. Sometimes you are annoying to the children and that is just part of being a mother,” she added.


Cyberattacks hit 95% of Saudi businesses last year, says study

Updated 17 sec ago

Cyberattacks hit 95% of Saudi businesses last year, says study

  • Data, money and reputation at risk

RIYADH: Cyberattacks hit 95 percent of businesses in the Kingdom last year, according to a new survey, as a cybersecurity expert warned that there was a lack of awareness in Saudi Arabia about the seriousness of such attacks and what people could do to protect themselves.

More than 800 global business and cybersecurity leaders took part in the survey, including 49 from the Kingdom. It was commissioned by a cybersecurity firm, Tenable Inc., and carried out by Forrester Consulting.

According to the study, 85 percent of Saudi survey participants had witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of business-impacting attacks in the past two years. The effects of the attacks were serious, with organizations reporting loss of customer or employee data, ransomware payments and financial loss or theft. Around 61 percent of security leaders in Saudi Arabia said the cyberattacks also involved operational technology.

Cybersecurity expert Abdullah Al-Jaber said the primary reason that most of these cyberattacks were successful in the region was due to a lack of awareness about the gravity of these incidents and the ways that people could protect themselves against them.

“A lot of cybersecurity attacks happen because of a lack of cybersecurity awareness in a company’s employees,” he told Arab News. “Many attacks start from phishing campaigns and lead to major incidents, similar to the attack that happened recently on Twitter,” he said, referring to a Bitcoin hacking scheme that happened on the social media platform last month.

Al Jaber recommended educating employees about proper internet security, keeping work and personal internet browsing and email access on separate devices if possible, and avoiding unsafe behavior such as pirating music, movies, and TV shows.

“Improving cybersecurity awareness to employees is key for companies to make sure they don't open any malicious links or files that might lead to an incident. Also, understanding the environment and which systems are exposed to the Internet and making sure those systems are hardened and protected. The National Cybersecurity Authority (NCA) has published frameworks for organizations to follow, which help many organizations in improving their cybersecurity maturity,” he added.

He also recommended choosing complex passwords for email access and enabling two-factor authentication protocols whenever possible for added security.

The Tenable poll showed that fewer than 50 percent of the security leaders who took part said they are framing cybersecurity threats within the context of a specific business risk. For example, although 96 percent of respondents had developed response strategies to the COVID-19 pandemic, 75 percent of business and security leaders said their response strategies were only “somewhat” aligned.

Al-Jaber warned that these attacks could be dangerous for many reasons and not only because of the financial impact they could have on companies, as many factors came into play in terms of phishing scams.

“Some of the impact caused by cybersecurity attacks are the loss of sensitive information such as customer or employee personal identifiable information, financial loss, and even to the company’s reputation. A company that is known for being more vulnerable to cyberattacks might have less of a value on the stock market or to potential investors,” he said.

A royal decree requires all organizations to improve cybersecurity standards and procedures to protect their networks, systems and electronic data, and commit to the adoption of policies, frameworks, standards, controls and guidelines issued by the NCA.