The UAE, represented by the General Authority for Regulation the Telecommunications Sector (TRA), participated in the announcement session of the new 2020 Child Online Protection (COP) Guidelines, which were launched by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in collaboration with more than 30 international child protection organizations. These Guidelines include best practices that can be drawn upon to establish national child online protection strategies in countries. The document contains a comprehensive set of guidelines for children, parents, teachers, industry stakeholders and policymakers with the aim of contributing to a safe and enabling online environment for children and youth.
The new Guidelines have been redesigned to reflect the major transformations in the digital landscape, such as IoT, connected games, online games, robotics, machine learning, and AI, in which children find themselves.
The Child Online Protection Guidelines were launched in a global virtual session that included input from the Queen of Sweden, ICT ministers, and child protection experts from different parts of the world.
The session also included UAE's input on the best means to implement an integrated strategy for child online protection at the state and regional level, as presented by Eng. Abdelaziz Al Zarooni, Chairman of the Working Group on Child Online Protection at the ITU.
Commenting on this participation, Eng. Abdelaziz Al Zarooni, Chairman of ITU Working Group on Child Online Protection, said: "The major development in the world of telecommunications and its transformation into a core sector serving various other sectors, such as education and health, requires continuous amendment of laws, regulations and manuals that contribute to educating different segments of society about how best to deal with the Internet and the information and services it provides. This is the case for the COP Guidelines launched by the ITU, which aim to steer children, parents, teachers and all stakeholders to the best ways in which our children can interact with the Internet, while keeping them safe and achieving maximum usefulness.”
The 2020 Guidelines consist of four parts tailored to key audiences: children, parents and educators, industry and policymakers. The guidelines for children are available in a child-friendly format and they consist of three resources: a story book for children under nine, a workbook for children aged 9 to 11, and a social media campaign and microsite for children and young people aged 12 to 18. These resources help children learn how to manage risks online, while at the same time empowering them to exercise their rights online and engage in opportunities that the Internet presents to them.
The guidelines for parents and educators serve as a practical tool to help them to effectively support children and young people's interaction with the online world, to sensitize families to the potential risks and threats and help cultivate a healthy and empowering online environment at home and in the classroom. The guidelines for industry aim at supporting industry players in the development of their internal COP policies. Lastly, the guidelines for policymakers serve as a solid foundation on which to develop inclusive, multi-stakeholder national strategies, through open consultations and dialogues with children, to develop better-targeted measures and more efficient actions.