Abu Dhabi’s WED Movement explores positive learning of children through technology

Abu Dhabi’s WED Movement explores positive learning of children through technology

ABU DHABI, 16th August, 2021 – World Early Childhood Development Movement (WED Movement), which was launched recently by Early Childhood Authority (ECA) under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA), has revealed its agenda and the strategic focus of the Tech Humanity for Children breakthrough working group.
The first edition of the WED Movement will focus on three topics. The first is about tech humanity for children and aims to pave the way towards the 5th industrial revolution, while the second addresses the 21st Century lifestyle to encourage a better lifestyle with improved physical and mental health outcomes. The third topic aims at improving the emotional well-being and social interaction of children and those around them.
The announcement was made during a session hosted by the ECA to highlight the power of technology to promote the positive learning and growth of young children.
The session was attended by Omar Saif Ghobash, UAE Assistant Minister for Cultural Affairs and Co-Chair of WED Movement Breakthrough Working Groups, and Dr. Saeed Al Dhaheri, Tech Humanity for Children team member and Chairman of Smartworld, UAE’s leading systems integrator, and Dr. Yousef Al Hammadi, ECA Executive Director, Knowledge and Impact Sector.
Ghobash said, “Technology is a part of our lives and our children are already in the digital space at a very young age. We have a tremendous opportunity to drive change in technology design and media content in ways parents simply cannot do themselves that will directly benefit the healthy development of young children.”
Dr. Al Dhaheri said, “We want to look at technology through a public health lens for what it offers our children as opposed to viewing screens as toxic and guilting parents for allowing their children to use technology. To that end, we are assessing all aspects of technology use in and out of the home as well as the interaction of parents and children together with technology.”
With team members bringing to the group experience from work with such tech and corporate leaders as Google, IKEA, Microsoft, Apple and Intel Labs, the Tech Humanity for Children team is finding solutions to promote positive digital literacy and learning experiences for children. One objective of the group is to find ways to incentivise companies to develop child-centric apps and content.
While the group is heavily focused on driving positive engagement with technology, it is also analysing and assessing several challenges the growing use of technology with young children presents. That includes looking at the impact of the pandemic on increased screen time, child privacy and protection, online bullying, and technology access, affordability and use among marginalised populations.
In addition to analysing existing research and data, the Tech Humanity for Children group is conducting original research on technology use and habits among Abu Dhabi children that will influence their work.
Dr. Yousef Al Hammadi, “Technology can be a powerful tool to help our children learn and grow. We can help parents learn how to better enter the digital space together with their children for shared learning and play experience.”
The three current WED Movement breakthrough working groups operate under the guidance of Chair Cecilia Vaca Jones, Executive Director of the Bernard van Leer Foundation, and Co-Chair Omar Saif Ghobash.
Team members are globally heralded for early child development innovation and advocacy and come from a wide range of world-renowned institutions such as UNICEF, World Bank, UNESCO, Harvard University and YouTube, as well as a number of global companies in technology, entertainment and other related industries.
The movement will develop and present a series of actionable policies and programmes that can be immediately implemented by ECA to benefit children across the Emirate.