The Child Safety Department (CSD), an affiliate of Sharjah’s Supreme Council for Family Affairs (SCFA), has organised a training session at its headquarters for its Cyber Safety Ambassadors aimed at heightening their awareness and understanding of cyberbullying, and how they can ensure their safety while using the internet and social media.
CSD launched the Cyber Safety Ambassadors initiative on Emirati Children’s Day this March to provide a group of children and youth (10–18 years) training in online safety practices to be disseminated further to their peers.
The session was presented by Advisor Dr. Ibrahim Al Dabal, Executive Chairman of Khalifa Empowerment Programme (Aqdar), who spoke about bullying and its types both in the real and virtual worlds, shed light on its negative implications on children and youth and clarified how awareness can be one of the biggest safeguards against it.
Al Dabal introduced practical methods the session’s attendees could apply to handle incidents of bullying, including guiding themselves and their peers through such a problem, choosing the right time to inform school staff and family, and choosing right kind of friends and social influences to avoid situations where they might be bullied.
During the session, participants learned about the characteristics of traditional bullying and cyberbullying. Al Dabal emphasised that while traditional bullying in the form of verbal, psychological and physical abuse is confined to a specific time and location, the latter is continuous and extremely hard to identify at times.
Hanadi Saleh Al Yafei, Director of Child Safety Department, said: “Our cyber safety ambassadors shoulder a big responsibility of carrying the message of online safety awareness to their peers and communities. This is the first in a series of sessions and institutional visits we have planned this month to ensure our ambassadors understand their responsibilities and the roles of the initiative, its partner organisations, and the various federal and local entities in the UAE that are tasked with ensuring child and community safety. Ambassadors will get to visit the Ministry of Community Development, UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, Sharjah Consultative Council, Sharjah Police Headquarters, among other institutions to learn about their operations, strategies and priorities.”
Dr. Ibrahim Al Dabal has lauded the Cyber Safety Ambassadors initiative, saying it is doing a great deal in empowering children and youth to educate themselves on this pressing topic as well as spreading awareness messages among friends. He noted that CSD’s peer-educator approach is in line with Khalifa Empowerment Programme (Aqdar)’s goals, and is one of the strongest techniques used to sensitise and educate this age group.
CSD launched the Cyber Safety Ambassadors initiative in cooperation with the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), Ministry of Community Development, Khalifa Empowerment Program (Aqdar), and Sharjah Police Headquarters.
It aims to empower the UAE’s youth to deliver awareness messages to their peers about cyber safety best practices. Participants will receive training as part of the initiative to help enhance their communication and presentation skills.