Updates

Child safety online

2019

The Child Safety Department (CSD) of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, Sharjah has launched the ‘Cyber Safety Ambassadors’ initiative that aims to train children and youth of Sharjah on cyber safety and best practices online,  so that they in turn can train their peers on  internet safety. This initiative was launched in collaboration with the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), Ministry of Community Development (MOCD), Khalifa Empowerment Programme – Aqdar, Sharjah Police Headquarters and other federal and local entities.

At the launch programme, Hanadi Saleh Al Yafei, Director of CSD, mentioned 'The initiative promotes Sharjah’s stature as a child-friendly city and its launch coincides with Emirati Children’s Day, which reaffirms our commitment to ensuring that all children in the UAE enjoy a safe and stable life, and that their rights are protected, in line with the UAE’s and Sharjah’s visions.'

 

The National Crime Agency (NCA) of the UK has launched a new online video series called ‘Jessie and Friend’, for children aged four to seven on online safety. In a statement to the BBC, the NCA mentioned ‘Investigators are seeing a very disturbing change in offender behaviour, with the increasing contact abuse of pre-verbal and very young children’.

Since most three to four year olds in Britain use the Internet, NCA Director Rob Jones emphasised the need for parents and teachers to discuss online safety with children. The videos are expected to help parents to get the conversation started on online safety.

Serbia has developed the first digital children’s guide to online safety called ‘Children and Internet – Smart from the Start’. The guide provides information and support to children aged four to eight, their parents, teachers, and all participating in their upbringing in order to protect children online.  The guide has been developed based on the findings of a research conducted by UNICEF and Telenor, and implemented by the Serbian Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, and the NGO Uzice Child Rights Centre under the Family Safety Net project.

 

At the continental consultation meeting of the African Union (AU) on Combating Online Child Sexual Exploitation (OCSE) held between 6-8 March at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; the AU made ‘an urgent’ call for protecting children online from sexual exploitation. This meeting which is being attended by child protection and law enforcement officials from 55 AU member countries, is expected to mobilise respective commitment to address the challenge on sexual exploitation of children online.

 

Online safety commissioners in Ireland may be granted new powers that may allow them to fine or even press criminal charges on social media firms if they breach rules. The breaches include allowing underage children to use their services without parental control, cyber bullying, posting videos that promote self-harm, anorexia or suicide, etc.  The new law was formulated after the 'Momo' scare. Communications Minister Richard Bruton has stated that the exact penalties are yet to be framed by the government post a six-week ‘consultation period’ with technology companies, privacy advocates, and child protection agencies.

Tik Tok a  video-sharing app popular among  teenagers has agreed to pay $5.7 million fine to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of US over alleged violations of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. FTC stated that  websites for children need to obtain parental consent before collecting personal information from children under the age of 13,  which Musical.ly, the lip syncing app, that is now known as Tik Tok and currently owned by Beijing based Byte Dance Technology failed to adhere.

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