ABU DHABI, The UAE’s years-long efforts to ensure internet safety for children have made remarkable results. The country’s commitment to protecting children from the negative effects of the virtual world has reflected in a broad spectrum of initiatives such as formulating a national plan, legislations, awareness mechanisms and participating in international efforts in this regard.
Since the emergence of the internet and social media and their use by the entire community, the UAE has drafted a plan to mitigate potential risks to children. This was an important move because Emiratis spend around eight hours a day on the internet and social media, while children spend at least two hours per day on smartphones and related devices.
The UAE government believes in the importance of protecting children and ensuring their rights, especially protecting them online.
In a statement to the Emirates Agency, WAM, Zayed Al Shamsi, President of the UAE Lawyers Association, stressed the importance of the legislative steps taken by the UAE to reinforce the digital safety of children.
He noted that Article No.29 of Federal Law No.3 for 2016 on children’s rights, also known as the ‘Wadeema Law’ obliges telecommunication companies and internet service providers to notify relevant authorities about circulation of child pornography, as well as sites targeting children.
Al Shamsi urged parents to monitor online and social media content viewed by their children.
The ‘Child Digital Safety Initiative’ launched by the Ministry of Interior in March, in partnership with the National Happiness and Quality of Life Programme, is part of the country’s efforts to promote internet safety for children and the youth aged between five and twenty-eight , and raise their awareness about the risks such as online harassment.
The initiative includes the creation of educational materials on digital safety, which aim to introduce children to the best international practices and encourage parents and teachers to teach children internet safety at home and school.
In 2018, Abu Dhabi mobilised over 450 religious leaders from around the world at a conference titled, “Religions Alliance for Communities Security: Children’s Dignity in the Cyberspace.”
The UAE’s efforts to protect children from the dangers of the internet date back to 2001, when it became the first Arab country to adopt the “2001 Convention on the Protection of Children from Cybercrime.”
The UAE, represented by Ministry of Interior, has chaired the “Global Virtual Working Group” since 2015, and it participated in the “Global Virtual Power Conference,” VGT. It is also part of an international alliance of dedicated law enforcement agencies and industry partners working together to keep children safe online. The alliance has helped save hundreds of children from around the world from exploitation and led to prosecute hundreds of criminals since 2003.
The UAE hosted the second Webprotect World Summit in Abu Dhabi in 2015, which resulted in governments and organisations agreeing to establish a coordinated national response to the sexual exploitation of children on Internet.
Source: Emirates News Agency