The Ministry of the Interior, represented by the Higher Committee for Child Protection, will celebrate the global day for promoting safe internet usage, under the slogan ‘Safer Internet’, on Tuesday (Feb 11).
The celebration falls within the framework of international organisations’ efforts to promote concepts of safety regarding the internet and protecting children against any possible dangers.
In a statement, Major General Nasser Lakhrebani Al Nuaimi, Secretary General of the Office of HH Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, called for legislating parental supervision on the cyber behaviors and actions of their children.
These cyber behaviors might affect their real life and reflect on their personalities even when they conceal their real identity under fake names.
Parents should also have the ability to block some content to block undesired, harmful, and illegal behaviors.
He said that they can protect children against modern technological dangers by increasing their awareness and understanding.
"We all need to develop and practice safe, legal, and ethical behaviors in this age of digital technologies.
“We also need to spread awareness to be able to effectively address privacy protection issues," said Major General Al Nuaimi.
"We must realise that while they are in contact with the cyber world, our children and teenagers are subject to all kinds of challenges and dilemmas that require advice and guidance to find suitable solutions."
Furthermore, Major General Al Nuaimi, added that the global ‘Safer Internet Day’ is a manifestation of international organisations’ efforts of spreading the concepts of safe internet usage and child protection through early education.
He asserted the importance of joint efforts that are in line with the goals of the Higher Committee for Child Protection at the Ministry of Interior, which is working on developing the procedures to reach the desired goals.
Additionally, he pointed out the many steps the Ministry of Interior has taken to improve child protection; namely, establishing the Child Protection Center that is concerned with all crimes that involve children, and all the practices that encourage child exploitation.
It also works on finding the solutions and initiatives that guarantee the protection of children and monitoring any related cybercrimes.
Major General Al Nuaimi mentioned that the Higher Committee for Child Protection has worked on developing and implementing family control over the dangers that their children may face as a result of the negative utilisation of the internet.
The committee has also worked on raising children’s awareness about the dangers that they may face, organising relevant media campaigns and academic training programmes.
In cooperation with the concerned authorities, these programmes improved awareness levels about the dangers of information technologies crimes, specifically those related to the exploitation of children through the internet.
Gaming vs sleep
For his part, Lieutenant Colonel Faisal Mohammed Al Shammari, Director of the Child Protection Center at the Ministry of Interior, explained that global estimates suggest that e-gamers spend an average 8 hours per week playing games online.
Other estimates indicate that daily average sleeping hours have decreased by two to three hours over the past ten years.
Warning against modern technologies that are not regulated, Dr Mahmoud Majid Al Kubaisi, from the College of Law at Al Ain University of Science and Technology, said: "I believe that it is a crime to leave teenagers alone with their smart phones in their rooms or in the streets.
“It is also negligent to give teenagers unlimited access to the internet all day and all night."
Dr Al Kubaisi called upon fathers, mothers, and educators to protect their children against these dangers.
He also urged them to support the efforts of governmental and non-governmental organisations.
These organisations that are headed by the Ministry of Interior strive to spread awareness in society and warn the public against dangers on the Internetto protect our children and society.
Furthermore, Dr Al Kubaisi said: "Only by joining efforts and collaborating will we be able to reduce these dangers. We will provide our sons and daughters with preventive measures and awareness, warn them about the red lines, and support them by giving them warning signs."
Dr Al Kubaisi posed some questions for the parents: "What would parents say when they know that their child is able to flatter a woman in another continent with his smartphone?
“And likewise, what would you say if a malicious man lured or victimised your child from another continent? Whose responsibility is it when a child drops out of school and loses their future because of the internet?
“Who is the responsible if the child went astray because of the internet? Who do you hold responsible for a teenager who becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol because of the misuse of smartphones?
“Who do you hold responsible for a girl whose modesty is breached, or a boy who is the victim of a gang or blackmailing?"