The Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) has advised people to be cautious while using applications that share content and personal data.
In a statement on Saturday, the CRA said while it “encouraged the creation of appropriate digital content and use of technology, it also intended to create awareness among netizens to stay safe and vigilant when sharing and accessing multimedia, personal or promotional content”.
The consumer alert specifically cautions users of apps such as SnapChat, Periscope, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc, which provide audio, video and multimedia content that may be offensive, sensitive or entirely inappropriate culturally, for underage audiences or for security of individuals and businesses.
Consumers play an equally important part in helping CRA deliver its mandate for consumer protection by staying safe and cautious when using such apps, the statement said. “Stay safe, protect your privacy and report inappropriate content while using social media apps.”
In this regard, the CRA has urged people to keep the following guidelines in mind for the safe use of social media apps:
* Monitor app usage by minors: as an informed consumer, one should ensure that minor children in the family or under one’s care are using age-appropriate apps. “Several social media apps have minimum-age requirements; you should encourage children around you to respect and abide by such requirements. When unavoidable, monitor and supervise children’s usage of apps that may display age-inappropriate content,” the advisory notes. It is also advisable to use age restrictions in settings on smart devices that are used exclusively by children without adult supervision.
* Download official apps: where possible, people should use apps that are locally available to ensure that the content they are accessing or sharing is culturally appropriate. “When in doubt, confirm with your service provider.”
* Report inappropriate content: if users come across any content that they feel is explicit or inappropriate culturally, they should report it to the service provider.
* Protect your personal data: sharing personal information, photographs, location and contacts - publicly or with apps - may result in undesirable outcomes. “Always take precautions,” the advisory states.
The CRA, as the regulator for communications and postal sectors as well as access to digital media, works closely with relevant government authorities, local service providers and other regulators in the GCC countries to ensure that netizens in Qatar have access to appropriate content and digital platforms.
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