Abu Dhabi: The Ministry of Interior on Monday renewed its call for parents to use the Hemayati or ‘my protection’ smartphone application with the start of the new school year in order to protect and enhance the safety of children.

The application allows parents to communicate with their children round-the-clock, and includes a built-in feature that enables children to send distress calls to their parents in case they feel threatened. It also provides the ability to forward the signal to the ministry’s Operation Room with a single click in the form of a “Smart SOS”, which will be given priority with a response time of only four minutes.

He noted that the Hemayati app can be activated by parents only. “It is specifically designed to enhance the protection of children and to help parents locate their children when they are lost — it is not meant to be imposed as a type of censorship,” he said. “Installing the application on family members’ phones must be done through mutual consent, and at their own discretion.”

He advised parents to communicate with their children, and to emphasise to them the advantages and importance of this service that ensures their safety.

Lt Col Faisal Mohammad Al Shammari, executive director of the ministry’s Smart Government Programme, explained that the use of the application requires registration in the Hemayati system. To do so, the user must enter their ID number, and upon receiving a message with a PIN code generated by the system, the user must enter the PIN. This process verifies the identity of the phone owner. The registration is completed directly through the application itself. The user can send an invitation message to add his spouse to the account. To do so, the user should enter the spouse’s ID number and e-mail address. The other member will then receive an e-mail containing a link with the terms of use and conditions, which she should accept to complete the registration process.

In order to add a new member to a group, enter the person’s ID number, and press “Add Location”. To add a location, the user may press the “+” sign, and enter the location name. The user may also navigate the map to find the location, by using the “Use Current Location” to find the user’s location on the map. Finally, press “Add Location”.

Similarly, and to coincide with the return of the school year, the Ministry of Interior’s Child Protection Centre urged parents to guide and raise the levels of awareness for their school-going children with regard to the rules and requirements of general safety when at school and in school buses.