x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Abu Dhabi police warn pupils of predators on the web

Community police have conducted a workshop at a summer camp to make children aware of the dangers of online encounters, and have encouraged them to be vigilant.

ABU DHABI // Community police are warning children of the dangers lurking in social-media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Police have been speaking to pupils from Abu Dhabi schools to make them aware of those dangers, as well as the benefits of the internet.

"These social sites turned out to be very attractive among youngsters and invite numerous predators and crimes," said Mohammed Roslan, of the Community Police Department of Abu Dhabi.

"Sick criminals ask tender-minded students and youngsters over the social sites for a rendezvous at a deserted place, and crime takes place."

Mr Roslan was speaking on the sidelines of a summer camp awareness event at the India Social and Cultural Centre (ISC) on Monday.

Authorities acknowledged such crimes have occurred in the past, but said there were ways to battle them.

"Don't spend too much time on computers, and if you feel anything wrong or any wrong approach towards you, first inform you parents," said Samat bin Ismail, also with the community police.

The two said predators often pretended to be friends with the children and told them their parents would not understand their friendship.

But Mr Roslan told children at the event to always inform their parents of new friends they have met on the internet.

Community police want to spread their message to children in all age groups.

They also talked about the importance of preserving the environment and obeying traffic rules, urging children to ask their parents not to use phones while driving.

The police provided tips on ways to secure property from vandalism and offered information on how to make a police report if a stranger was lingering in the neighbourhood.

"I learnt from the demonstration not to litter and obey traffic rules and avoid bad people and report to police if I find anything bad around," said Raqeeb Rafeek, a Grade 9 pupil at Sunrise English Private School in Mussaffah.

The ISC summer camp on Mina Road began on June 29 and finishes today. The centre invited police to talk to the children about crime prevention, social conduct and responsibility.

"Since summer started we have covered over 13 schools and demonstrated about road safety, property safety and bad usage of the internet and its consequences," Mr bin Ismail said.

Mr Roslan added: "We also urged children not to play in the streets, follow traffic rules while crossing roads and do not go alone in dark places like underpasses and parks."

Joy Thomas John, honorary president of the ISC, said the camp this year had 280 children from different schools in Abu Dhabi.

anwar@thenational.ae