Experts in the field of child protection, the media, and the law stressed the importance of strengthening the efforts of institutions concerned with child protection at the local and Arab levels, to confront the danger of inappropriate digital content that children are exposed to through video, film and electronic games platforms, noting that it constitutes a real threat to the identity of future generations. What he presents of extremist, violent thoughts and negative behaviors.
They called for contacting digital content providers to remove inappropriate content and advertisements from platforms that children watch or watch, to provide technological capabilities for parental control over children’s use of the Internet, and to strengthen awareness programs for inappropriate content and cybercrime that children may fall victim to.
Inappropriate digital content clips constitute a social and educational problem at the level of Arab countries, according to what was reported by several families, “Emirates Today”, as they stressed that it “destroys morals and normal behaviors” and “calls for violence and immorality,” noting that “the absence of parental control over Children watch it, making them easy prey for this content.”
The UAE has been a pioneer in initiatives to protect cultural heritage, protect children and youth from ideas promoted through digital content, and raise awareness of cybercrime. In 2018, it established an age classification system that obliges practitioners of media activities licensed in the country to classify the content of publications and media activities by specifying codes that suit different age groups in society, with the aim of providing protection for children and youth from exposure to content inappropriate for their age, and helping them to make the right choice of artistic works with content appropriate for them.
The age classification system aims to preserve the values of the UAE society and its cultural heritage, and to protect its children from the negative influences that artistic works may contain, including cinematic films, video films, electronic games and video games, in addition to picture books and novels printed and used on the Internet.
In an effort to develop new regulations to control the content of the social networking site “Tik Tok” in the Emirates, the Executive Director of the Media Regulation Office of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Dr. Encouraging the dissemination of positive content on the platform, and enhancing the mechanisms for applying the media content standards in force in the UAE to all that is published on social media platforms.
Umm Abdullah, from the UAE, said that she faces a problem in imposing her control over everything her children watch or hear while playing electronic games or navigating social media platforms, as they “acquired some inappropriate words and negative behaviors through them.”
Abeer Ahmed, from Egypt, agreed with her, as she confirmed that “there are profanity, nudity scenes and extremist ideas spread through video clips and electronic games on the Internet,” noting that she began reducing the number of hours her children spend on the Internet, and engaging them in sports activities, such as swimming. and football.
Parents from Lebanon, Palestine and Syria mentioned that their children have acquired habits that are strange to our Arab societies, whether in the way of thinking, clothing or others, with the influence of social media platforms and electronic games, noting that the digital content currently circulating threatens their identity and culture, which is the biggest challenge they face in raising their children.
For his part, Professor of Media at Zayed University, Dr. El-Sayed Bakhit, said, “Inappropriate content has spread over the Internet recently, whether for children or adults, and some platforms have recently started publishing inappropriate advertisements that violate Arab traditions, and despite attempts to reduce this issue, But children’s exposure to digital content takes different forms on the Internet, including electronic games that include scenes, ideas and values that do not agree with us or our morals, as well as widespread videos that spread ideas and suggestions that may not be appropriate with our customs and traditions.
Bakhit added that “the spread of video programs through social media applications, and children and youth in the Arab region accustomed to following them, puts their identity and culture at great risk,” suggesting the use of programs and applications that help parents monitor the content their children watch to reduce their exposure to inappropriate scenes, and to enhance families’ awareness. And teachers and students have a culture of dealing with inappropriate digital content and avoiding it, stressing that it is “a societal responsibility that rests on the shoulders of the family, the school and the media, and there is a role for Arab programmers in helping to discover applications or technological tools that limit these inappropriate content.” For his part, Legal Counsel, Dr. Youssef Al-Sharif, stressed that “the responsibility to inform the competent authorities about platforms and electronic pages that provide illegal content, falls on each individual Internet user,” noting that “the rumor law tightened the penalty for publishing this content with a fine of no less than 300,000 dirhams, and not more than 10 million dirhams.” Al-Sharif said, “Some may, while browsing websites and accounts on the Internet, be exposed to images, videos, and texts that have illegal content, and may ignore them, but it is preferable to inform the concerned authorities about them, to take legal action against their publisher.”
Al-Sharif explained that “the illegal content includes real violence and criminal activity in videos, games and films,” noting that “there are games that rely on spreading violence and pose a danger to children, which were previously blocked in the country.”
He added, “Among the illegal content is every scene or clip that promotes hatred towards individuals or groups on the basis of race, religion or others, as well as promoting crime or violence.”
Al-Sharif stated that the contents he mentioned to define illegal content differ from one country to another, but almost all of them are generally agreed upon, pointing out that the UAE legislator specified a specific definition of illegal content, which he included in the Rumors Law within the definitions.
And regarding the responsibility and role of individuals when they are exposed to illegal content online, Al-Sharif believes that they should have a positive role in confronting these sites, because they pose a danger to society and children, by trying to collect information on this site, and contacting the competent law enforcement authorities and informing them And it, in turn, takes its measures to block the site, and before blocking it, if it generally contains all these contents, it can send a warning and alert to delete these pages, or illegal sections. Which intensified the penalty, as it stipulated that “a fine of not less than 300,000 dirhams and not more than 10 million dirhams shall be imposed on anyone who uses a website or electronic account to store or make available and disseminate illegal content, and does not take the initiative to remove it or prevent access to this content.” within the period specified in the orders issued to him and stipulated in the law, and he refrained from complying, in whole or in part, with one of the orders issued to him and stipulated in this Decree-Law without an excuse.”
In turn, the Director of the Child Protection Center at the Ministry of Interior, Lt. Col. Abdul Rahman Ahmed Al-Tamimi, stressed the importance of providing digital protection for children against all forms of danger that threaten them or endanger them, pointing out that “the Ministry of Interior, through its specialized departments, deals with these crimes, to provide digital protection.” for children, as part of its continuous efforts to provide all forms of support and protection for children’s rights in the country.”
He added that “the center implements various means to reduce cases of abuse and abuse of all kinds against children in the country, regardless of gender, nationality, race, religion and color, as it provides an integrated protection system with multiple axes.” He continued: “There is an organizational unit that specializes in spreading awareness and guidance on the issue of children’s rights and protection, and disseminating awareness-raising information directed to children and how to protect themselves, and another directed to those in charge of them from their families and members of society concerned with education and health service providers for children and others,” stressing the importance of awareness in the field of child protection. limiting potential cases of abuse and abuse, the importance of raising awareness of laws and instructions related to the protection and rights of the child, and the integration of federal and local efforts, pointing out that the dissemination of educational information to raise awareness in this field to more than 200 nationalities constitutes a major challenge in diversifying the sources of knowledge that members of society deal with. Through modern technological means to reach the largest possible number of segments of society. For his part, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Emirates Child Protection Association, Faisal Al-Shammari, said that the Arab digital cultural content still suffers from great weakness and imbalance. Governorate.
He stressed the importance of working to build an integrated community awareness of digital content and inappropriate accompanying ads.
He stressed the importance of investing in emerging fields locally and regionally, to spread positive digital content in line with our customs and culture, pointing out that the UAE is the homeland of creativity and a civilizational beacon worthy of sustainable development, and concerted institutional efforts between federal, local and semi-governmental government agencies and the private sector is a vital requirement.
He pointed out that there is a common societal responsibility to ward off the dangers of modern technologies, and to reduce the impact of dangerous electronic games on children, especially the family, the school, and civil society institutions, as well as the national telecommunications companies, which bear the responsibility of developing parents’ control capabilities, and educating the public in conjunction with selling Their services, and their marketing, similar to the initiatives of similar international companies. He stressed the importance of tightening control over the purchase of games categorized for age groups older than the age of the children, or games that contain the marketing of criminal or immoral behaviors, or directed at extremist purposes, or even allow communication with strangers without the supervision of parents, considering that “failure to implement this is considered pure negligence.”
He said that the UAE is one of the first countries to pass laws dealing with children’s rights, and has signed many international conventions in this field, and it has clear imprints in strengthening local and international efforts to protect children from any form of abuse or exploitation. He added that “Wadeema’s Law enacted articles to protect the child from being abused, but in light of the spread of technology, the authorities responsible for the content must follow up, because child protection is a joint institutional, societal and personal responsibility, as well as the companies receiving content bear part of this responsibility, and every person who monitors any Child abuse should contact the responsible authorities immediately and report the content, and never circulate offensive clips.
Excessive use of technology
The National Rehabilitation Center has warned of the negative effects of excessive use of technology on children and adolescents, including that technology and unlimited openness can have a profound negative impact when children are exposed to content that is inappropriate for their age.
One of the negative effects of digital content is the acquisition of violence, because “spending a lot of time behind electronic devices may make the child more aggressive.”
He cautioned that excessive use of electronic devices of all kinds may cause feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Also, poor eyesight and obesity are two of the main risks of spending too much time on electronic devices and not doing exercise. The World Health Organization has included electronic game addiction in its international classification of diseases, as this classification is a reliable global reference for health symptoms, while the National Rehabilitation Center intends to open an outpatient clinic for the treatment of electronic game addiction, targeting the treatment of addicts to the use of the Internet and electronic games, using the Internet addiction scale for adolescents.
Parents are motivators of technology addiction
The “Sawab” Center warned parents against being preoccupied with their phones and social networking sites, and causing their children to become addicted electronically, warning that parents are the main motivator for their children’s addiction to modern technological means such as the iPad, devices and electronic games, as they are preoccupied all the time with these devices and social media.
The center called on parents to follow up on their children’s activities on the Internet, wondering about the extent of their knowledge of extremist activity and their exploitation of communication sites and electronic games to influence the minds of young people, stressing the importance of talking with children to gain their trust and contribute to protecting them from the sources of extremism. He continued, “Mental health is no less important than our physical health, as it is a global problem, especially for young people; Because half of mental illness begins at the age of 14.”
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