Seef District, Kingdom of Bahrain – Sunday, 20th of March 2016
Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) of Bahrain is undergoing preparations for the release of a highly anticipated research report concerning the “National Internet Safety Review”. TRA commissioned UK based independent researchers, Professor Julia Davidson and Professor Elena Martellozzo, to conduct the research report with the purpose of studying key issues surrounding children’s and adult’s perceptions of risk and their online behavior.
“The report sheds light on some crucial insights into various areas of online behavior in the Kingdom.” says Mr. Mohamed Hamad Bubashait (TRA’s General Director)
Compared to our findings in 2010, it’s a relief to see that the levels of awareness to online risks have increased. It is, however, concerning to see that Cyberbullying percentage is high. This is something that will require greater collaboration between both government and private sectors to address. Further to that, we all have a stake in this matter.
Compared to the 2010 report, 2015’s results point to various new developments in online behavior. Overall time online spent by young people has increased, with 47% reporting to spend up to three hours a day compared to one third of the sample in the previous report. Young people are moving away from fixed internet and online activity with a nearly fifty percent reduction in desktop use since 2010. They also are accessing the internet using more fluid, dynamic and mobile technologies in 2015, with nearly 4 times more reporting using a smartphone when compared to six years ago. There is an increased use of the internet for activities such as homework and researching, as well as instant messaging, but there was decreased use of email.
There are reductions in the young people survey data across the majority of risk areas, including sharing personal information with strangers online (16.6% in 2010 vs. 9.9% in 2015). There was a large reduction in the number of Young people reporting that they had met an online contact in person in 2010 (43%) and 2015 (16.4%), which comes as a welcome adjustment. Changes in cyber-bullying were difficult to interpret during 2010, however the 2015 study revealed that high percentage of respondent (37.9%) have been cyber-bullied.
TRA’s Manager of Cyber Safety Ms. Mariam Almannai stated that
“The facts on Cyberbullying which we’ve uncovered are still alarming. In order for us to make a substantial change, we keenly believe that this change will come from a joint effort across ministries and organizations. TRA is adamant on being on the vanguard of this change, and I have no doubt that the leaders in both government and private institutions as well as the public at large will share our belief in the immediacy and cooperation required.”
The research consisted of focus group interviews with children aged 7-11, a national survey of children aged 12-18 and a national survey of adults- 1637 young people aged 12 – 18 from schools in the Kingdom participated in the child survey and 98 children aged 7-11 participated in the focus groups. The sample was nationally representative of Bahrain, including a 50/50 gender split. Furthermore, the split was also equal amongst different age groups (the following schools participated voluntarily Al-Wisam School; British School of Bahrain; The Indian School; Modern Knowledge School; Bahrain Bayan School).
The official National Internet Safety Review is due to be published for public viewing in a month’s time.