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On her exposure to bullying, Al Saqqaf said, “In the age of the internet, the opportunity to bully others has become easier, whereby harassment can take place at the click of a button and reach a wider audience. Illustrative picture. Image Credit: Reuters

Abu Dhabi: Standing up for a victim of bullying, Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Abdullah Al Sawah, phoned Aisha Al Saqqaf after she was bullied on social media following publication of information about a new vending machine for masks and gloves. “We are proud of you, creative,” Al Sawah told Al Saqqaf.

Al Saqqaf said: “I faced bullying from some trolls, and received criticism about a Saudi-made project that I invented.”

Al Saqqaf said she was a sponsored student in Malaysia with her husband, and developed a number of customised self-service and vending devices. “I created many self-service devices to sell single-use batteries for mobile phones, masks and gloves, and prayer rugs,” Al Saqqaf added.

Danger at the click of a button

On her exposure to bullying, Al Saqqaf said, “In the age of the internet, the opportunity to bully others has become easier, whereby harassment can take place at the click of a button and reach a wider audience.

“It was a difficult day for me as I watched my effort over the past three years collapse before me, until one of the followers alerted me that most bullies were from fake accounts, some of them from outside Saudi Arabia, and their goal was to thwart projects and aspirations of Saudi youth.”

She thanked the minister of communications for his support, “which has proven to everyone that there is no country like Saudi Arabia in its support for creative persons”.

Well-being of young people

Cyberbullying or harassing someone on the internet is a faceless evil, which is fast becoming a growing threat for teenagers and can do irreparable damage to the mental health and well-being of young people.

It involves using technology through cell phones and the internet to harass, bully or shame another person. It can take the form of sending threats and negative messages to a person’s email account or cell phone, spreading rumours online, sending sexually explicit messages or visuals or circulating sexually suggestive material about a person without his or her consent.

Al Saqqaf expressed her ambition to establish a Saudi factory that exports smart services to the world, develop the financial technology sector and create an attractive platform for investment.

Al Saqqaf affirmed: “Saudi women are capable innovators and inventors. They only need support and encouragement so that they can be an effective building block in society, as they are no less talented than anyone.”