Watani Al Emarat Foundation issues report about awareness levels of social media users

DUBAI, Releasing a report about the level of awareness among young people using social media about national political and security concerns, the Watani Al Emarat Foundation has underlined the need to exercise caution while using these outlets.

The report followed a survey conducted in the wake of the massive impact that social media has on the UAE community.

Dirar Bahloul Al Falasi, Director of the Foundation, said the report was based on a field study that quantified awareness among youth using various social media outlets.

He added that since the social media platforms could also pose a threat, it was imperative for the users to be aware of such dangers and exercise a sense of responsibility.

Only such an approach will help them derive benefits that the social media offers and ensure a safer society. Due diligence must be exercised to protect the youth from any potential risks that the use of social media may pose, the report underlined.

Enumerating the dangers inherent in the social media, the report said dissemination of rumours or inaccurate information could cause immense harm to users who may not be aware of the negative implications of such concocted news.

Therefore, the society not only needs to be aware of the dangers that such behaviour on the part of some may pose, but also needs to formulate a mechanism to punish the guilty.

Further, the report warned about innumerable fake accounts on social media putting out inaccurate news reports, and suggested that the best way to deal with such accounts was to refrain from disseminating rumours any further.

The field study about the pros and cons of social media, carried out by Dr. Amal Hameed, Community Affairs Advisor with the Watani Al Emarat Foundation, had a sample size of 62 female students pursuing secondary education.

Explaining the study's results, Al Falasi said 71.7 percent of the students in the 15 to 18 years age group referred to the positive aspects of various social media. They held that it was a good way to communicate with their friends and family, whether in the country or abroad. At the same time, 36.8 percent of these female students said they did not perceive any problems in using social media while 35.8 percent considered it a tool for education that offers quick access to information.

Ten percent of the surveyed students saw the social media outlets as a mode of making new friends.

On the other hand, the contrary opinions regarding social media outlets that emerged in the course of the survey could be summarized in three main points, namely, strangers gaining easy access to such media outlets and communicating with teenagers, accessing their personal information and then threatening them.

Of the surveyed female students, 20.5 percent supported this view. Eleven percent of the female students affirmed that they encountered family and social problems on account of social media while 8.8 percent admitted an addiction to staying online even as it left them isolated from social realities.

Source: Emirates News Agency