Abu Dhabi: The Ministry of Community Development (MoCD) recently took part at the Inaugural Gulf Family Forum which was held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on the 14th and the 15th of September 2022.
The Forum which was titled “Family Future Opportunities and Challenges in the Gulf”, was organized by the Secretariat-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council and Family Affairs Council.
The event coincided with the celebrations of the “Gulf Family Day” on 14th of September.
WORKING PAPERS BY MINISTRY
At the forum, the MoCD presented two working papers. The 1st was titled “The Impact of Virtual Reality and Technology on Family Cohesion in the Gulf Region”, presented by Ms. Eman Hareb Al Falahi, Director of the Social Protection Department.
The 2nd working paper titled “The Reality of Senior Citizens in Light of Changes”, was presented by Ms. Alia Al Joker, Director of Family Development Department at the Ministry.
THE FIRST WORKING PAPER
In her presentation, Ms. Al Falahi spoke about the Gulf family in light of the contemporary technological challenges, pointing to several, including how virtual society patterns replace social relations and dialogue between family members.
The Director of the Social Protection Department spoke about the penetration of family privacy and social relations, family members falling victim to electronic blackmail, cyberbullying, cyber addiction, especially addiction to electronic games, intellectual polarization, the rebellion of children against the supervisory role of the family, and the emergence of new interactions.
Ms. Al Falahi addressed the forms of family relations which have fostered isolation and widened the gap between members of the same family and how some family members, especially children, fall victim to rumors and fake news that are often re-circulated.
The official emphasized on the importance of employing innovation and technology in facing family challenges with electronic applications to measure relations between family members. Ms. Al Falahi spoke of taking advantage of parental control tools in smart devices, providing support proactively, conducting a digital ethical charter between family members to promote family closeness and designing electronic games that address the noble values of young people.
Ms. Al Falahi also referred to the experience of the MoCD in establishing the “soun” application to ensure early detection of possible abuse against any family member, the ministry’s directives towards digital wellbeing and the national policy of digital wellbeing, which included initiatives and directives for children, students and family members in general, in addition to the designed (KID X) game for a balanced and responsible upbringing of children.
THE SECOND WORKING PAPER
In her working paper titled, “Reality of Senior Citizens in Light of Changes”, Ms Al Joker pointed out that the UAE supports the digital integration of senior citizens as one of the empowerment means in the contemporary world where technology plays an active role in enhancing community involvement and active life of senior citizens by facilitating their daily life routine requirements.
The Director of Family Development Department at MoCD also pointed out that the ministry completed several technology programs and workshops within the objectives of the National Policy for Senior Citizens to encourage them to adopt digital technology in the completion of their daily tasks, government transactions, medical follow-ups and others. The number of beneficiaries of the e-technology programs and workshops reached 65,000 senior citizens.
Ms. Al Joker explained that all the policies, legislations and regulations support senior citizens in the UAE by focusing on areas of their participation and appropriate community opportunities to employ their expertise through being permanent members or founders of non-benefit public associations, participating in volunteering opportunities that are mentioned in the national volunteering platform “volunteers.ae”.
The MoCD official further added that actions by the MoCD encourage brainstorming sessions and interactive community councils which bring together adults and youth generations to convey their life experiences and promote their integration into society, media and social media platforms. The ministry’s day clubs also provide senior citizens with the opportunities to participate in community, cultural, recreational and health activities and also include their family members within the community.