UAE: Authorities urge parents to monitor children's online activity during the summer break

They can be vulnerable to criminals as they may spend more time online



by

Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Mon 11 Jul 2022, 2:28 PM

Authorities have urged families to protect children from online threats and bullying, their summer break.

The Abu Dhabi Police say that children may be exposed to various dangers online including cyberbullying, cyber predators, blackmail, posting private information, access to inappropriate content and phishing.

The force added that children may spend several hours online playing games or on social media exposing them to such criminal activity.

This warning was given as part of the 'Safe Summer' campaign.

Officers added that youngsters may also fall for scams and can accidentally download malware.

Many children have Snapchat, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger installed on their phones, but some parents don’t even know what those apps are.

Police said sexual predators, and other criminals often stalk children on the internet, taking advantage of their innocence, lack of adult supervision and abusing their trust.

Authorities have urged parents to always be on their toes and keep a tab on their children’s online activities.

The force also warned parents about the predators targeting youngsters through online games, stressing that they should keep a watch on the electronic games their children play.

Parents were also advised not to subscribe or buy electronic games online, unless from a trusted source. Those websites should ideally apply safe controls and parents must use a bank card with limited balance so that they are not vulnerable to fraud and piracy.

Abu Dhabi Police had earlier urged families to use parental control monitoring programs on the children’s devices to protect them against online predators.

Captain Yaqoub Yousef Al Hammadi, director of the child exploitation branch on the Internet at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and Investigations in Abu Dhabi Police earlier said that some parents were reluctant to use the various control monitoring programs or apps on the internet and this was risky in terms of building confidence with their children and also exposes the kids to predators.

“Only one in every 20 fathers in the UAE use parental control monitoring program on the kids’ devices, according to a recent study conducted by a specialized company in the country,” said Al Hammadi.

He advised parents to use online control programs to monitor the websites that their children visit, without their knowledge so as to protect them from cybercriminals.”

The officer noted there are parental control tools that work on different devices and smart phones, through which control rules are set for children and they can contribute to guidance during learning, playing and browsing the Internet.

Al Hammadi said much as the internet can be dangerous for everyone, children and teens are especially vulnerable online. They can be exposed to cyber predators or have social media posts that come back to haunt them later in life.

Families and children have been told to report online criminals to Aman – a security communication channel that receives information – on (security, community and traffic) and operates around the clock through the toll-free number 8002626 (AMAN2626), or by text messages (2828), or via e-mail (aman@adpolice.gov.ae) or through the smart application of the Abu Dhabi Police General Command.

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