x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 18 October 2017

New UK partnership strengthens online child safety 

Successful European programmes to be implemented in the UAE to improve cyber security  

A new partnership with UK online child safety experts is being developed with UAE child protection services.
A new partnership with UK online child safety experts is being developed with UAE child protection services.

Safe internet use by children is at the heart of a campaign launched by the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in collaboration with a UK trust.

The SCFA Child Safety Campaign has partnered with South West Grid for Learning, a non-profit charitable trust, to promote safe internet use by children and young people across the UAE.

The partnership will see the sharing of educational content, technical information and co-operation on best practices between the two organisations.

Successful programmes used in 32 European countries will also be looked at to see how they can be applied in the UAE.

Last year, the Child Protection Law came into force, introducing new ways for children and adults to report incidents of online abuse.

“The safety of children when they are online is one of the primary concerns of our times,” said Hanadi Saleh Al Yafei, department director of SCFA and head of the organising committee of the campaign.

Read more: Warning over effects easily accessible online pornography can have on children

“Whether it is in terms of the security of personal information or moral protection, there are a significant number of risks posed by irresponsible users and we need to implement technical boundaries, promote awareness and develop understanding.”

The third edition of the Child Safety Campaign was launched in March but the UK partnership has only just been announced.

The campaign is aimed at children, parents, teachers and internet experts and seeks to highlight the vital role played by community organisations to protect children from social media hazards and ensure they stay safe online.

Online crimes against children carry fines and custodial sentences in the UAE.

In Abu Dhabi last March, a Filipino man in his 30s was sentenced to six months in jail and fined Dh50,000 for distributing pornographic material to children through mobile phones.

The new partnership with UK child protection bodies comes after Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, chairwoman of the SCFA and wife of the Ruler of Sharjah, called for new partnerships with relevant international organisations to provide the highest levels of protection for children.