Thursday, February 10, 2011

Qatar Computing Research Institute Partners with Qatar Academy to Extend Yahoo! Safely Internet Safety Program to Qatar




DOHA, Qatar, Feb. 7, 2011 – Yahoo! Inc.  (NASDAQ: YHOO), the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) and Qatar Academy, members of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, are collaborating to extend the Yahoo! Safely global initiative into Qatar, demonstrating the commitment of all three organizations to fostering safer online experiences for Qatari youth. 

In conjunction with Safer Internet Day, Yahoo! Safety Oasis, Yahoo Safely’s localized online safety resource, was showcased on February 8, 2011, at Qatar Academy, a private, nonprofit school that provides internationally accepted, comprehensive, English-medium programs plus Arabic and Islamic studies from pre-school through to secondary graduation.

“Education is our goal at Qatar Academy, but technology is our vehicle for arriving there,” said Dr. Samuel Liberto, head of IT and E-Learning for Qatar Academy. “Yahoo! Safety Oasis is our guarantee that the path to that end will be a clear and safe road.”

“All Qatar Academy students rely upon information from the internet and mobile devices for communication,” added Liberto. “It makes sense to use Yahoo! Safety Oasis for protection in those pursuits.”

Yahoo! Safety Oasis (http://esafe.yahoo.com/), which was developed by the Yahoo! Maktoob team, educates Arabic speaking children about how to properly surf the net and protect their personal privacy through a series of fun, interactive edu-tainment courses offered through a number of Yahoo! Maktoob channels such as Kids, Games, and Family links.   

Yahoo! Safety Oasis comes as part of the global Yahoo! Safely site (safely.yahoo.com), which is designed to provide information and advice on making smart choices online and supports Safer Internet Day’s goals to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones among young people globally.  The global resource informs parents, educators and teens about important topics such as managing digital reputations, avoiding cyber-bullying, and learning how to minimize risks on mobile devices, as well as guidance on how to safely use specific Yahoo! products.  

“While online traffic is increasing across the Middle East, awareness of online safety issues is relatively low in the region.  And according to research we conducted in the region, an overwhelming majority of respondents said they are interested in learning more about internet safety for kids.  This makes our program very relevant and we feel that it will provide a valuable resource to educate youngsters on digital literacy as early as possible,” said Andy Abbar, head of product marketing for Yahoo! Maktoob.

Qatar Computing Research Institute conducts multidisciplinary research in computer science and engineering that is relevant to the needs of Qatar and the wider Arab region. The institute also helps set national priorities for computing for the State of Qatar. “The digital world is our future, and our children need to feel safe and secure as they begin to negotiate the Internet,” said Ahmed Elmagarmid, executive director of QCRI. “Yahoo! Safety Oasis is an innovative way to enhance the online experiences of Qatar’s youth. This joint venture with Yahoo! is perfectly aligned with our community service goals of setting a positive direction in computing for the young people of Qatar.”

Yahoo! Safety Oasis has also teamed up with some of the region’s leading organizations from both the private and public sectors who firmly believe in the importance of Internet safety and are committed to spreading this awareness in their countries.

“Online safety is a priority for Yahoo! and we are celebrating Safer Internet Day this year to help parents, educators and youth safeguard themselves and create positive and productive web experiences,” said Catherine Teitelbaum, Yahoo!’s director of child safety and product policy.  “Yahoo! Safely and Yahoo! Safety Oasis help address the online issues children around the world are facing today including mobile usage, cyber-bullying and digital reputation.  It’s important that we take a proactive approach and work together as a global community to help foster a safer online experience for our children.”  
For Safer Internet Day 2011, Yahoo! is sharing top 5 tips for youth:
Ø Think before you post.   How you represent yourself online – the way you play games, the photos and texts you share, your avatar, and your profile –  all add up to who you are.  Invest in your online image.  
 
Ø Be a good sport when online. If you wouldn’t do it on the field, don’t do it online.
 
Ø Take action and report bullying.  By standing by and watching, laughing, or doing nothing when you see bullying happen, you become part of the problem. Don’t be a passive bystander.  
 
Ø Spread smiles when texting. Texting is core to staying connected with your friends, and half of you send more than 1500 texts a month[1].  What you text is a reflection of you, so be thoughtful about what you text and confident that your texts portray you the right way.  
 
Ø Unplug and connect with your world.  It’s estimated that teens spend 7.5 hours a day watching some form of media. The Internet is fun, rich world, but don’t forget to unplug sometimes.  Get out and connect with your friends in the real world.

2 comments:

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