A nation can easily provide a secure environment for women, children, vulnerable people and businesses with the help of robust laws and crime prevention tools. Safe neighbourhoods, safe parks, safe malls and other public places are prerequisites for a stable nation and a health society.
What is however, tough in today’s world is to provide an equally safe digital environment for all sections of the society, including children. While the internet has become the backbone of economies, education systems and everything else that a literate society depends on, there exists an ugly dark world beyond the reach of law enforcers.
Societies around the world are grappling with the dangers posed by dark forces on the web. In recent years, the UAE has taken several steps to create awareness about digital safety among parents and children.
For example, the Telecommunications Regulation Authority or TRA’s Sannif website is a powerful tool to highlight potentially harmful content of online games. Parents can simply log onto its website and check details, risks, and age appropriateness of online games. The platform, available in Arabic and English also provides a list of family games and highlights potential risks.
Taking digital safety to the next level, the UAE earlier this week announced a ‘National Policy for Quality of Digital Life’ to create a safe digital community and promote a positive identity through digital interactions. Unveiling the policy, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai said: “We adopted the National Policy for Quality of Digital Life to maintain a healthy and positive digital environment for new generations who spend more time in virtual reality than in the real world. Our aim is to make their reality positive, productive and safe.”
He also attended the launch of ‘Positive Digital Citizenship Values and Behaviours Code’, a framework for positive digital citizenship values and behaviour in the UAE. The code consists of ten articles covering the UAE’s legacy, digital reputation, respect for others, positive investment, good manners, digital privacy, publishing credibility, digital ethics and balanced usage.
Also launched was a interactive portal to create awareness and build digital capacities of parents, teachers, people of determination and senior citizens. These remarkable initiatives by the UAE, a first in the region, will immensely help people in making the right digital choices.
It must be understood, however, that parents have a greater role than governments in ensuring that their children are protected from harmful effects of free internet. Like in the case of physical safety, citizens do have a responsibility to protect themselves and their loved ones from online dangers and remain alert.