Internet safety has been a main concern for parents, teachers, NGO’s, Ministries and other stakeholders in Lebanon for many years. Various roundtables, projects and activities were initiated, and all revolved around finding solutions that best suit our community. One of the main prerogatives of Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) relates to increasing awareness on the risks that our children face while surfing online.
Children are vulnerable, and the cyberspace which they surf daily should be safe. When accessing the Internet, children could be targets of pedophiles, cyber bandits, hackers and online predators. The TRA has taken various measures to protect children in the cyberspace, in line with its mission to protect telecommunications consumers, by:
- Providing parents with monitoring tools to protect their children while surfing the Internet:
- parent/child binding contracts distributed in various schools
- devoted parents training through schools
- informative COP section on the TRA website http://www.tra.gov.lb/Children-protection dedicated to parents
- Making various contributions to local, regional and international conferences (ITU, Arab IGF, Escwa, MOT, Isoc, Unesco…), to local schools (Grand Lycee Franco-Libanais, Saint Charles School) , and workshops/roundtables dedicated to all aspects of online child protection in Lebanon , discussing COP topics revolving around legislative, technical, and regulatory issues with concerned stakeholders (Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Interior, all Lebanese ISP’s, major NGO’s….)
- Conducting a study within its prerogative as a member of AREGNET amongst all Arab countries on their efforts on COP nationally. Following the survey, a Code of Practice for ISPs was prepared and was approved amongst all AREGNET members. This Code will soon be binding.
- Participating actively in all "Safe Internet Day" activities and projects since 2008 with many NGO’s and in 2012 participation included:
- creating a dedicated Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SaferInternetDayLebanon that is being updated on a daily basis by the TRA
- creating a dedicated Twitter and Hash account: @SIDLebanon Hashtag: #SIDLB13
- rolling out of an intensive media campaign through various vehicles
- sending a mass SMS to the whole Lebanese population with dedicated COP message
- Participating actively during launch (August 2012) of a dedicated e-helpline for all Lebanese children to use as a resource of information or to submit e-complaints https://www.himaya.org/content/learn-more-about-e-helpline-1
- Creating a national safety website (www.e-aman.com) that targets the Lebanese community as a whole including parents, youths and teachers. It aims at helping Lebanese citizens become more responsible in the cyberspace. Adults need to be aware of the many options they have to secure their Internet at home. They also need to understand the potential risk areas and be able to educate their children to act responsibly online. Although parents are the weakest channel to drive awareness for their kids, they still play an important role to support them in case of danger. Parents are also the Internet access provider and can extend it to various devices to be used at home. Thus the TRA built a dedicated national website that would offer comprehensive tips and exhaustive information for parents, youngsters and teachers to help them avoid facing Internet risks.
- Participating amongst many other stakeholders in the production of a dedicated book on online safety to be used from grade 5 to 9 in all public and private schools that will be officially launched by the Center of Educational Research and Development (CERD) at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education on February 5th, 2013.
- Creating awareness and promoting consumers rights towards telecom service providers by advertising a message that it deemed important for the public on consumers rights in the telecom field through a one page spot advertisement diffused on many Lebanese TV’s in October 2012. One of the main messages of this advertisement was on Child Online Protection