Gaming ban won't work in UAE, say fathers
Dubai - These Dubai-based dads believe better education about time spent on connected devices is what's needed.
Published: Fri 12 Apr 2019, 12:00 AM
Last updated: Sun 14 Apr 2019, 2:57 PM
The idea of 'teching down' today's youth may sound like the best way to decrease the negative impacts of over-consumption when it comes to online and digital content - but the reality for parents today is, it's just not that easy anymore.
Gadgets have become the mainstay in the digital age, not only in the workplace but at home, too. They have become necessary to stay abreast of today's fast-growing, digitally focused world. So instead of trying to limit access, a number of people believe better education about time spent on connected devices is what's needed. A group of men doing just that is the Dad Squad. Made up of five devoted dads living in Dubai, their love of online gaming has seen them get together to go beyond playing in a virtual world.
All too aware of the peer pressure and online bullying that take place online, Spark Makki, Fouad ElZarka, Ahmed ElZarka, Mousa Nimer, Maher Abu Kaff and Ahmad Sulaiman said isolating kids from such abuse is not the way to tackle the issue.
"We're all fathers ourselves so we're privy to the dangers our kids will and are facing when logged online. Wrapping them up in cotton wool won't work. We think it's important to spread the idea of better behaviour online and ways to limit the negativity surrounding online gaming," Nimer told Khaleej Times.
Father of two Abu Kaff said he wanted to get on board with an initiative like Dad Squad to dilute this fear that people have about letting kids play online.
"Look, technology will catch up on your child sooner or later, so it's about educating them through awareness. As a parent, I am concerned about my kid, too, it's natural. Even now, I see my nephew playing online and some of the conversations he has over the game are concerning, so I join him and look at how he plays. Then, I sit with him after and teach him how to strategise and eliminate the negative side effects that sometimes come with it."
Many of the active games right now expose children to violence, inappropriate language and could put them at risk of being groomed online by strangers or, worse, encourage them to harm themselves. So now, the Dad Squad - an initiative spearheaded by Lenovo - wants to try and promote a set of rules for online activities and screen time.