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Child Digital Safety Initiatives in UAE

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 14, 2023, 17:41:00

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The UAE government recently launched ‘Child Digital Safety Initiatives’ on Emirati Children’s Day on March 15. The project was jointly unrolled by the Ministry of Interior and the National Programme for Happiness and Wellbeing in the year 2018. This initiative was launched in a collaborative effort to raise awareness of online hazards and problems among children and school students, as well as to promote safe and productive internet usage.

The United Arab Emirates leads the world in internet and smartphone usage, necessitating the creation of a comprehensive digital safety network for our youngsters. The UAE government is dedicated to preserving family stability and societal cohesion, with children at the forefront of its priorities. Their virtual safety is critical for the UAE's general well-being, societal stability, empowering good and engaged citizens, and raising generations who understand the digital world.

Enhancing digital well-being is crucial for boosting overall well-being in the wider society, and online safety is a key component in that respect, said the Minister of State for Happiness and Well-being and Director-General of the Prime Minister's Office during the launch of the said programme.

To guarantee that access to the system is safe and secure as today not just accessing learning and knowledge but also ordering anything and everything from food, clothes to medicines is done via these internet websites, it becomes of utmost importance to guarantee a safe passage for these youngsters to explore the virtual world one that they are immensely attracted towards but are unaware of the crimes that take place due to lack of cyber safety.

The project also provides parents, guardians and educators with strategies for dealing with child cybercrime and the like issues and ensuring the safety of their children and students. It entails creating digital safety instructional materials, presenting children with global solutions in that area, and advising parents and teachers on how to improve digital safety for their children at home and in the classroom. By all means, the project aims at making the children digitally safe and sound.

This represents the UAE government's recognition of the challenges parents encounter in educating their children how to use technology, apps, social media platforms, and other digital and online items as responsible citizens.

The Four sub-initiatives to improve children's internet safety

Four key sub-initiatives make up this initiative. They are as follows;

Interactive Children's Camp, where children aged 5 to 18 may learn how to utilise the internet and other digital tools.

Training workshops, where parents and teachers can be trained to address digital challenges and threats, and a support platform to answer urgent questions from parents about digital safety are all part of the Digital Wellbeing Portal, which provides tools and information to help parents face the challenges of the digital world.

The following are a few more initiatives undertaken by the UAE Government to ensure a safe virtual world for all its citizens but most importantly the future of UAE.

● Article 29 of Federal Law No. 3 of 2016 Concerning Child Rights, also known as Wadeema's Law, states: Telecommunications companies and internet service providers shall notify competent authorities or concerned entities of any child pornography materials being circulated through social media sites and on the Internet, and shall provide necessary information and data on the persons, entities, or sites that circulate such material or intend to circulate such material. 

The US and UAE government have since long been very harsh on all people who tend to indulge in any sort of child pornography or even circulate or be a part of the process in any manner.

● Furthermore, the Dubai Data Law (Law No. 26 of 2015 on the Organisation of Dubai Data Publication and Sharing) intends to safeguard all persons' data and privacy, including children's.

● The Sannif programme was created to educate parents about eGames and encourage them to participate in them.

● The Digital Life Quality Knowledge Platform was launched to build the digital capacities of community members with a focus on students, parents, teachers, people of determination and senior citizens. 

For this generation to grow up with the internet as its right hand is both a pro and a con hence it is best for the government to lay down certain laws to curb the abuse of children on the internet and uphold their safety and dignity as they are the future of the nation and hence shall be protected by all means.

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