DUBAI: Meta recently hosted a virtual digital literacy forum to help young adults in the Middle East and North Africa navigate digital platforms. The forum, which was streamed live on Meta’s official Facebook page, explored the importance of digital literacy programs in creating a safer online experience for young users and reducing the risk of misconduct around the world. real.
The event brought together leading organizations working on youth wellbeing to discuss the role of digital literacy in promoting the safe and responsible use of digital platforms to counter misinformation, hate speech, bullying and harassment and addressing online safety, privacy and digital citizenship in the MENA region. young people aged 13 to 18.
“Digital citizenship involves the responsible use of technology for anyone who uses social media, the internet and other digital tools to interact with other members of society,” said Rama Halaseh, policy program manager at Meta for the MENA region.
She added: “We aim to partner with several organizations in the region on youth digital literacy as a key pillar of the work we continue to do in the MENA region to create a safe environment for all who engage. responsibly on digital platforms.”
The first panel brought together experts from the SecDev Foundation and the Arab Digital Expression Foundation to discuss the importance of understanding digital citizenship.
Ranwa Yehia, co-founder and president of ADEF Egypt, said: “When designing digital literacy programs for young people, attention to long-term impact, criticality and exposure fun and practice of the latest technological trends are essential.
Dr. Raed M. Sharif, Senior Regional Director of [email protected]SecDev Foundation’s Digital Resilience for Women and Youth MENA Program said, “Digital citizenship and resilience skills are crucial for the future of Arab youth.
He added: “Whether it is basic digital literacy skills, such as the use of digital tools, or more advanced skills, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, Arab youth must be digitally safe, productive and innovative in order to capitalize on the many socio-economic benefits, political and cultural opportunities offered by the digital environment.
The second panel included leaders from the nonprofit Sourire de Reda and the Himaya Foundation, who discussed creating a prevention and protection ecosystem.
Myriam Bahri, executive director of Sourire de Reda, said that the association, which has worked for more than a decade to prevent suicide among young people, believes in “the importance of spreading messages of life, hope and benevolence through awareness campaigns”. ”
She added that the non-profit organization believes that “social media plays a huge role in this case” and believes that “peer prevention is one of the most effective ways to prevent teen suicide. “because they identify more easily with someone their own age. who lives the same life experiences.
Meta said in a statement that it will work to “leverage collective efforts and build partnerships with organizations on the ground” and “meet with stakeholders, share resources and programmatically invest in the education of young users to the responsible and safe use of digital platforms across the Region.”
The organization also seeks to work with local partners in the region to address community needs and challenges.