Qatar Confirms Importance Of Family Role In Improving Digital Environment For Children

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Geneva, March 21 (QNA) - The State of Qatar stressed the important role played by the family, as the main unit on which society is based, in supporting the promotion and protection of the rights of its members, and as the natural environment for the growth and well-being of children, and stressed the importance of the family's role in children's enjoyment of digital benefits and their protection from its harms. This came in the speech made by Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva Hind bint Abdulrahman Al Muftah in a side event on the family and protecting children's rights in a digital environment, organized by the GCC mission in Geneva, and the permanent missions of the State of Qatar, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, the People's Republic of Bangladesh, the Republic of Belarus, the People's Republic of China, Doha International Family Institute, on the sidelines of the 52nd session of the Human Rights Council. In her opening speech to the event, HE the Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations Office in Geneva referred to the affirmation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights instruments on the pivotal role of the family, and their call on society and the state to protect it, stressing the importance of the role of the family in children's enjoyment of benefits and protect them from digital harm, considering the digital world is now just as important as the real, tangible world. Her Excellency noted that today there is a generation of children who can easily navigate the digital world before they can even speak or walk properly, as one out of every three Internet users is under 18 years old, and that children now depend on digital tools and services for learning, entertainment, and communication with the world around them. On the other hand, Her Excellency pointed out that the Internet increases children's exposure to risks and damages, which may affect their lives in the short and long term. As a result, Her Excellency added, it can be argued that the digital world is fully beneficial or harmful. She added that finding the necessary balance between the advantages and disadvantages of the Internet requires adopting a multidimensional approach that puts the best interest of the child at the forefront in terms of policies and strategies related to information and communication technology, and that governments, technology companies and families must all play effective roles in order to ensure a safe and empowering digital environment for children. Her Excellency also said that this year marks the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the 30th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action and that this was an opportunity to reiterate commitment to these declarations and to protect the family. Executive Director of Doha International Family Institute (DIFI) Dr. Sharifa Noaman Al Emadi discussed digital addiction, stressing that teenagers alone are not to blame, given that their parents as role models also use their mobile phones excessively, instead of spending time with their children. Al Emadi called on research centers and NGOs to work closely with relevant stakeholders and society at large to reshape the perception of parents as role models, empowering them with tools and skills to better engage with their children, benefit from the positives of digital life, and avoid its potential harms. She explained that this comes by providing mandatory educational programs for parents based on evidence to better support new generations. She also indicated the importance of working together with governments and digital technology companies to provide safe platforms for children and applications suitable for parents, and tools to monitor their use of digital devices. The other speeches focused on the important role of the family in providing a natural environment for the growth of its members, which requires its support in order for it to be able to carry out its responsibilities within society to the fullest. The speakers emphasized the advantages of digital technology in various fields, especially education, but they expressed their fear of the risks associated with it, especially for children, which require raising their awareness of these risks and the need for continuous communication between children and their parents in anticipation of any possible harm, which may have long-term health and psychological consequences, and that would undermine the social life of the victims. It was noted that there is a shared responsibility among all, given that the protection of the child and the family is ultimately the protection of society, and they also stressed the importance of the state's role in providing a safe and conducive digital environment for children. (QNA)