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Young People in the Internet and Mobile Age: Safe and Empowered!

by Jutta Croll, Stiftung Digitale Chancen
Published on: 27.03.08
Source: own report

Ms. Suzanne Mubarak opening the conference

In an effort to spread the awareness and knowledge on cyberspace safety and trigger a national and regional dialogue on the culture of internet safety, Egypt's First Lady, and the President and Founder of the Suzanne Mubarak Women's International Peace Movement (SMWIPM), Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak has inaugurated on Monday, 24th of March a conference on internet safety for youth and children titled "Young People in the Internet and Mobile Age: Safe and Empowered!" in Smart Village, Cairo. The event is one of the projects related to a dedicated track to spreading awareness on Internet safety issues of the Movement's Cyber Peace Initiative.

The conference provided an opportunity for Egypt to get first-hand knowledge and experience about the world’s best practices in internet safety. Stakeholders from all over the world came to Cairo to exchange experiences, identify risks and share responsibilities on the issue.

One of the initiatives presented to the audience as a best practice example from Europe was the Youth Protection Roundtable. Jutta Croll on behalf of the YPRT emphasized the need for a dialogue between all stakeholders and recommended to strengthen the efforts to provide for training of digital literacy for users of all age groups. Especially in view of a total of about 10 percent of the population only who yet have access to the Internet a widespread access and awareness campaign involving all types of educational institution like schools, libraries and IT-centers is necessary to raise the percentage of digital literate people in Egypt. Please find the YPRT presentation here.

As a first step towards Digital Inclusion the opening ceremony of the conference witnessed the launch of the Egyptian Internet-Safety Youth Focus Group – 'Net Aman' by Ms. Mubarak. 'Net Aman’s' main mandate is to develop guidelines for online safety and help spread the culture of internet safe use among the group’s peers, in schools and the wider community in Egypt.

Mrs. Mubarak declared also the launch of the Egyptian Internet-Safety Parents' Focus Group during the event. The focus group aims at enhancing the parents and caregivers’ in protecting their families by raising their awareness of the safe use of the internet and acquainting them with safe means of technology use.

The results of the experts' survey on matters of youth protection in Europe carried out by the Youth Protection Roundtable will be compared to those of a survey adressing 600 students at Egyption schools conducted by the Net Aman group and to the answers to a set of questions adressed to the Parents' Focus Group. You may find a summary of the results of all three surveys here soon. A total of about 600 youths, parents, expert speakers and representatives from the Egyptian government, academia, industry, media, law enforcement sectors, NGOs and civil society took part in the two day conference in Cairo. The conference is considered one of the initial contributions to Egypt's preparation and hosting of the Internet Governance Forum in 2009.

The "Cyber Peace Initiative", first of its kind in the region, was launched on September 2007 in Sharm el-Sheikh under the auspices of Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak on the sidelines of the International Youth Forum. The initiative aims to empower the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to spread a culture of peace, tolerance and dialogue among the youth as well as protecting children from the misuse of the internet.

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