The emirates announces the ban on social media sites in these places

Certain private schools in Dubai have implemented partial or whole bans on pupils using social media applications while classes are in session.

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While headteachers accept that social media is still a part of students' lives, they emphasise that misuse such platforms is a serious violation of school policies that is even deemed a criminal infraction.

"We make sure that we share all communication guides with parents and students, and it is important to ensure that the whole school community is fully aware that the misuse of social media, to defame an individual or institution or share inaccurate or inappropriate information, is criminalised under Articles 20, 24 and 32 of Federal Decree-Law no.

"Students are not permitted to use cell phones in school." "During school hours, social media is prohibited," she continued.

In some schools, students are asked to acquire permission before posting images from school on their social media channels.

"The school administration has the right to file a complaint with the authorities to take appropriate action against any person using social media to defame and negatively impact the reputation of the school," Abu-Shamat added, explaining the UAE's social media rules. Such conduct also violates the Parent-School Agreement signed by the parents."

Meanwhile, administrators say they constantly raise awareness and provide advise on social media usage in school assemblies and seminars.

They emphasise the importance of education and awareness in establishing a pleasant and secure digital environment. The workshops are designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to navigate the digital realm effectively.

ban on social networking sites in these places in uae
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Responsible digital citizenship

"We have a comprehensive social media policy in place that aims to cultivate responsible digital citizenship among our students," stated Chandini Misra, Principal of Repton Al Barsha. During the school day, we prioritise academic engagement and human interaction. As a result, no year group is permitted to use social media apps during school hours, including breaks."

"In the senior school, our 'not seen and not heard' mobile phone policy ensures that students are fully present in their learning and are encouraged to engage with their peers face-to-face." We are able to closely monitor the use of our 1-1 iPads in the junior school as an Apple Distinguished School, allowing our kids to use connectivity to enhance and keep learning as the focus. We have previously held successful student and parent seminars as part of our pastoral programme, as well as external workshops by Barry Cummings of Beat the Cyber Bully, and we will continue to arrange workshops on the safe and responsible use of social media."

Educators emphasise the importance of empowering students to make educated decisions online, as well as assisting them in understanding the potential consequences of their activities and instilling a sense of responsibility.

"As a school, we have worked hard to ensure that our students are aware of the UAE law when it comes to social media use," stated Claire Smith, Academy Assistant Principal - Designated Safeguarding Lead, GEMS Wellington Academy - Silicon Oasis. This has been an important component of our school assemblies and 'GroWell' wellbeing classes for all children. Responsible decision-making is key to the work we undertake with students to keep them safe online. Our children cannot use the school Wi-Fi to access social media, and the usage of mobile phones in school is strongly prohibited."

"From Year 4, students explore age-appropriate social media themes and are aware of how to protect themselves from being hacked, spammed, or the victims of online fraud or abuse." All kids have access to Internet Safety classes, and if social media is addressed during the discussion with the students, the class teachers will go through what it means to be safe online."

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