Friday July 12, 2024

Speakers highlight risks associated with internet

November 24, 2018

LAHORE: Training workshops for students and teachers on safe browsing Friday stressed the need to create awareness about the potential risks as well as responsibilities of being online.

The one-day separate events titled ‘Safe Internet: From Cyber to National Security’ were organized by the Shaoor Foundation and Educational Trust in collaboration with the Crescent Model School and College Lahore and the University of Lahore. Zainab Masood, Abdullah Mashhood and Tooba Tahir participated in the workshops as trainers.

Addressing the students and teachers, the speakers said while the internet age has opened up new vistas for the advancement of information, news and entertainment in Pakistan, little work has been done to teach about the risks and responsibilities of being online and the pros and cons of the internet. They said the youth in Pakistan is not trained to understand the complexity of the online content nor it can, in most cases, differentiate between authentic information and the misleading content. “Although digital devices and the internet are common methods by which children access educational information, spend recreational time and communicate with their peers, the dangers associated with their use cannot be overlooked,” they asserted.

“Despite the fact that the internet has scores of positive roles, its emergence has been marred by its creation of avenues for new waves of ills to thrive in the society,” they said, adding that parents, teachers and caregivers must stay alert to the behavioral, emotional and developmental side effects of the hearty embrace of all things digital.

The speakers sensitized the participants about potential threats of hacking of personal information, promotion of liberal ideologies, drugs business, violence and sexual harassment on the internet. They warned that unsafe internet surfing can result in stealing of a user’s personal information which can later be misused by miscreants. “We must get prepared to confront a myriad of new safety issues, concerns, risks and harms, while also benefiting from the wonders that technology can and does bring into our and our children’s lives,” they said.

The speakers stressed the need for working with schools and the local authorities to share good practices in order to improve safe surfing guidelines. “Creating awareness on the vulnerability about online recruitment by terrorist organizations offering money for livelihood is the need of the hour,” they maintained. “A nationwide campaign anchored in schools is needed to make children aware of the potential risks of the internet. Digital literacy should be an essential part of the curriculum from the early years in school so that children recognise and avoid the dangers on the internet,” they recommended. Live demos with examples were presented to the teachers and parents for creating awareness on the darker and inappropriate side of the internet.