The report reveals that, on average, 78 percent of children in the age group in Oman are exposed to one or more cyber risks.
The Digital Intelligence (DQ) Institute has published its inaugural Impact Report that summarises the current state of online child safety and digital citizenship based on a multi-nation study that included 38,000 children in the 8 to 12 age group across 29 countries.
The report reveals that, on average, 78 percent of children in the age group in Oman are exposed to one or more cyber risks such as cyber bullying, video game addiction, online grooming and online sexual behaviours when using online platforms. The most prevalent cyber risk was found to be cyber bullying (60 percent).
The Sultanate’s score is higher than the global average of 56 percent. This risk exposure is particularly acute when children own a mobile phone and actively engage in social media. In such cases, children have a 70 percent likelihood of being exposed to cyber risks with 12 or more hours of screen time per week.
“From an early age, our children’s use of social media through personal mobile phones has been excessive. I call this the ‘toxic pairing’ — mobile and social media —for young children. This, combined with the inherent limitations for self-regulation among young children at this developmental stage, susceptibility to peer pressure and lack of digital citizenship skills, means our children are increasingly exposed to cyber risks. Before they start actively engaging in social media or owing their mobile phone, we need to empower our children with digital citizenship skills to mitigate cyber-risks and maximise the opportunity of technology,” said Dr Yuhyun Park, founder of the DQ Institute.