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UAE: Experts share tips on how tech can help children’s learning outcomes

Nandini Sircar /Abu Dhabi
nandini@khaleejtimes.com Filed on August 17, 2021
Reuters

The move seeks to address the issues related to millennial lifestyle in a bid to improve physical and mental health outcomes.


Exploring options of positive learning of children in the UAE through judicious use of technology is the primary focus of the World Early Childhood Development Movement, as “the global education landscape is fast evolving”.

Experts affiliated to the outfit, which was recently launched by the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA), are looking at ways to integrate better with the fifth industrial revolution.

The move seeks to address the issues related to millennial lifestyle in a bid to improve physical and mental health outcomes.

Emphasis is also laid on emotional well-being and social interaction of children and those around them.

These thoughts were shared during a virtual session hosted by the ECA to highlight the power of technology, to promote positive learning outcomes among impressionable minds through the pioneering work of a global team of experts in technology, media and child health.

Omar Saif Ghobash, Assistant Minister for Cultural Affairs in the UAE and Co-Chair of World Early Childhood Development Movement Breakthrough Working Groups, said, “Technology is a part of our lives, and our children are already in the digital space at a very young age. We’ve a tremendous opportunity to drive change in technology design and media content in ways parents simply can’t do themselves that will directly benefit the healthy development of young children.”

He also emphasised the importance of strengthening the private sector’s role in supporting human technology to meet the developmental needs of children in creating content and programmes.

Dr Saeed Al Dhaheri, a member of Tech Humanity for Children and Chairman of Smartworld, said, “We want to look at technology through a public health lens for what it offers our children as opposed to viewing screens as toxic and sending parents on a guilt trip for allowing their children to use technology. To that end, we’re assessing all aspects of technology use in and out of the home as well as interaction of parents and children together with technology. We’re committed to using the knowledge and experience of this team to drive innovation that can help our children grow up healthier, smarter and learn to be kinder to each other.”

Technology and corporate majors such as Google, IKEA, Microsoft, Apple and Intel Labs are looking at finding solutions to promote positive digital literacy and learning experiences for children.

Work is in progress by the Tech Humanity for Children group to figure out ways to incentivise companies to develop child-centric applications and content.

Efforts are also on to analyse challenges regarding the growing use of technology by children such as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on increased screen time, the young minds’ privacy and protection, online bullying and technology access, affordability and use among marginalised populations.

It is also evaluating the potential value and impact of technology use among children of determination.

Dr Yousef Al Hammadi, Executive Director, Knowledge & Impact Sector, ECA, said, “Technology can be a powerful tool to help our children learn and grow. We can help parents learn how to better enter the digital space together with their children for a shared learning and play experience. We can show them how technology can help our children to be aspirational, nurture their creativity and learn how to express themselves in an authentic and kind way. But our parents need access to credible, trusted resources and evidence about their children’s involvement in the digital space.”

nandini@khaleejtimes.com

Nandini Sircar





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