Muscat: The Ministry of Education, Public Prosecution, Royal Oman Police and Information Technology Authority will jointly tackle the threat of cyberbullying, with many students facing harassment and bullying online.
All four bodies will be present at a seminar that will be held today to address the dangers of cyberbullying and provide insights on dealing with it. The event, which is called ‘Together against Cyberbullying’, will be held on the premises of the Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) from 6:00 to 8:30pm, and has been organised by Knowledge Oman, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.
At the event, experts from the Royal Oman Police and Public Prosecution, as well as clinical psychologists from Sultan Qaboos University and cyber experts from the Information Technology Authority will speak on the harm caused by cyberbullying and discuss methods to tackle it.
Speaking to Times of Oman, Khalfan Al Mahrizi, the president of Knowledge Oman, said, “Right now, cyberbullying is the talk of the hour. A lot of students are being bullied online, and we as parents and teachers sometimes do not know how to tackle this. That is why we invited the experts to come and talk about it. We have the Royal Oman Police coming, a psychiatrist from Sultan Qaboos University, cybersecurity specialists from the Information Technology Authority (ITA) and representatives from the Public Prosecution.
“All of these people deal with the issues of cyberbullying on a day-to-day basis,” he added. “Basically, a lot of people facing cyberbullying do not know who to reach out to, they do not know who to talk to, so we decided to bring the experts to tell them how to deal with this behaviour online. We came up with this idea a couple of months ago, and we met with the officials at the end of August with a view to having this in October.”
Keynote speaker at the event will be Fahad Al Kindi, a lawyer and the former head of Public Prosecution. Chief guest Abdullah Al Rawahy of Cloud Acropolis will speak on cybersecurity, while a panel discussion by Dr Amal Al Busaidi will feature experts in the field of cyber security, law and the legal measures employed against those who are found guilty of propagating or initiating cyberbullying.
Other speakers include Haitham Al Hajri, a cybersecurity specialist, Major Ghassan Al Zadjali of the Royal Oman Police, Hassan Al Ajmi, who specialises in cybercrime and crisis management, and public prosecutor Saud bin Saleh Al Mawali. The seminar will be in Arabic, but live translations will be provided for English speakers.
“The government were very interested in supporting us, and the Ministry of Education are endorsing this,” explained Al Mahrizi. “When we approached the ROP and the Public Prosecution, they volunteered to send us the best specialists for this event. We will have a lot of counsellors, teachers and principals from schools attending this event.
“We will be tackling many of the aspects around cyberbullying, such as online harassment, intimidation through emails, bullying through chatrooms and stalking through text messages, for example,” he went on to say.
“These kinds of seminars are vital because currently, we are still in the dark about the extent of cyberbullying and it is definitely a concern. We have more than 150 people registered for the event, which is more than we can accept. We will go through a screening process to see who is best prepared to attend this.”