Sharjah Youth Voice Opinions On Today’s Digital Rights

The Sharjah Baby Friendly Office (SBFO) in partnership with the UNICEF Gulf Area Office, organised a consultation session involving 20 children across age groups from diverse nationalities, at Al Majaz Amphitheater in Sharjah in efforts to protect children’s rights in the digital age in today’s world.

The objective of the session was to obtain a detailed overview from the emirate’s young populace on their experiences in the digital environment, document their observations about the extent to which the internet shapes their social interactions and influences their development, and the risks or threats they are or may be exposed to in the digital space. Essam Ali, Social Policy Specialist at UNICEF Gulf Area Office, conducted the consultation session. The session also met SBFO’s objective of upholding children’s right in matters that affect them.    

SBFO and UNICEF Gulf Area Office will collate the findings of this consultation session and present them to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), to support their work on developing a first draft of a General Comment on children’s rights in relation to the digital environment.

Dr Hessa Khalfan Al Ghazal, Executive Director of SBFO said, “No group is more affected than children by the communications revolution of the internet age. In the UAE, more than 99 percent population are active Internet users. While this is a significant enabler of national initiatives like establishing an innovation- and knowledge-based economy and a tech-driven society, it also means we need to do our very best to safeguard the full range of children’s rights that are impacted within a highly digital environment like ours”.

After due consideration of all inputs shared at similar consultative sessions with children around the world, CRC will prepare a first draft of the General Comment for additional consultation with relevant stakeholders. The UN Committee has been encouraging submissions from a diversity of parties so that the General Comment reflects the widest possible expertise and experience.


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