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26 February 2024

Is your child safe without a mobile?

By Bindu Suresh Rai & VM Sathish


Thirteen-year-old Arshad Hussian of New Indian Model School Dubai, who went missing after being dropped off in Naif area on Sunday evening, has been found, confirmed school authorities.

A NIMS source told 'Emirates 24|7' that the boy was staying with his classmate and friend in Rashidiyah. "He feared being reprimanded by parents for some minor issues. He was found at his friend's home on Monday night and is safe and healthy."

His friend's parents were not at home and the boys decided to stay together. Neither did he attend school yesterday, the source added.

The child's parents could not be contacted for comments.

Dubai Police, school authorities, friends and relatives of the family were on a marathon hunt for the eighth grader since Sunday evening after the school bus driver said he dropped him at Naif area.

GPS trackers

Meanwhile, in wake of the latest child-missing incident, the issue of allowing students to carry mobiles and/or GPS trackers is in the spotlight again.

In fact, telecom giant etisalat has launched a Kids Safety Mobile with an integrated safety solution that claims to put concerned parents at ease when attempting to contact their children.

The system uses an advanced GPS technology, allowing parents to use the system’s secured website to look up the position of their child, and even receive safety zone alerts when the child is on his/her way home in the bus.

Parents like Tejas and Jigna Thaker, who have a six-year-old studying in a GEMS school in Dubai, the device’s most useful feature is the ‘location button’.

The Etisalat Safety Service provides the child with a dedicated search and find button where s/he can send their current location instantly to their parent via SMS. The location button can also be configured as a priority button for children to alert their parents in case of an emergency.

“We teach our children about stranger danger, but there is only so much precaution that can be taken with the aid of mere words,” said Jigna Thaker.

“This safety device at least assures me that my daughter Tanisha can reach me should she ever be in any emergency – be it wandering away unescorted or in danger of a predator lurking . The incident where a young boy was molested and killed last year still gives us sleepless nights.”

Parents can also assign up to three safety zones into the Kids Safety Mobile, ensuring that should their child wander out of a certain zone, they are quickly able to ascertain the situation and call the child if needed.

To avoid misuse of the phone, a safety feature ensures that up to five numbers chosen by the parents are fed into the system to prevent unwanted bills.

Battery low alerts by SMS and/or email will also be sent out.

The service, which includes a Kids Safety Mobile, a Wasel SIM card, a one-year subscription and a one-year warranty, costs Dh880 for the first year, and Dh300 for the following years.

Said Khalifa Al Shamsi, Senior Vice-President – Consumer Marketing, in an earlier statement: “Aside from the obvious benefits, the device also has great use for children with special needs where the phone and the Etisalat Safety Service may provide the tools for parents to give them some independence to move around freely, but safely.”

Earlier story: 

13-year old pupil missing after school bus drop off

Dubai Police, school authorities, friends and relatives are engaged in a manhunt to find a standard eight Indian student of the New Indian Model School, Dubai, who has been reported missing since Sunday evening.

The boy, Arshad Hussain, 13, did not reach home after evening classes on Sunday, after which a formal police complaint was lodged.

“We are investigating the student’s whereabouts and according to our school bus driver, the boy was dropped in Naif. Other students who were dropped off in Naif have reached home, but one eighth standard boy has been reported missing. It is too early to make any sudden conclusions as the search is going on,” said Surendran Pillai, Principal, New Indian Model School.

He said the school authorities have interviewed other students who travelled on the same bus.

At the time of filing the report, neither the police nor the family chose to make any comment.