KUWAIT: Zain Group, a leading mobile innovator in seven markets in the Middle East and Africa, announced the launch of its latest social media campaign entitled ‘Internet Monsters’, which aims to further raise awareness on child safety online, at a time of increased online activity. The online campaign is based on classic fairytales to which modern twists have been added to depict what is occurring in the modern digital world.
Zain engaged the services of an artist to create and depict the telco’s take on the classic children’s stories of Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood, showcasing the villains in each story in a digitized manner, with them emerging from laptop screens, smartphones, tablets and TV screens (gaming). The digitization of the classic stories, reflected against a backdrop of different digital mediums, is meant to help children visualize and relate to the threats faced online, and understand that there are ways to counter them.
Over 30 percent of all internet users are estimated to be children and given the expansion of broadband access, this number is only set to rise over time. The COVID-19 pandemic has also resulted in many more children coming online as physical school classes have been restricted and more children are learning online, increasing the threat landscape for exposure to detrimental content and threat actors.
The main objective of Zain’s latest child online safety campaign is to reiterate the importance of this issue, and advocate for parents and caregivers to stay vigilant and aware of the risks, emphasizing that people are not always who they might present themselves to be online.
Bader Al-Kharafi, Zain Vice-Chairman and Group CEO, commented, “Child Online Safety is of great importance for Zain given the millions of children that are online every day using digital devices across our footprint. We are dedicated to playing our key role in addressing this especially that our region has one of the highest share of youth in the world, coupled with a rising broadband connectivity rate. We are fully committed to address the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 16.2 calling on ending all forms of violence against children by 2030.”
Jennifer Suleiman, Zain Group’s Chief Sustainability Officer commented, “Zain aims to empower millions of young people across our footprint, enabling them to reach their maximum potential. Part of this objective is keeping them safe from harmful content and people, and one of the pillars of our Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability strategy, Generation Youth, contains initiatives that are dedicated to child online safety.”
Suleiman continued, “Zain is actively involved in activities geared towards creating and supporting ecosystems that foster the well-being of young people to ensure sustainable, inclusive growth and social cohesion in our region. As a leading internet services provider, it is our responsibility to ensure that children are as safe as possible online and through social media campaigns such as Internet Monsters, we look to continue raising awareness on this critical topic to children and caregivers.”
Zain has been a major advocate on issues related to raising awareness of child online safety through initiatives and collaborations that include the following:
* To raise awareness and better educate individuals on the importance of child online safety, in 2020, Zain launched a social media campaign and an internal announcement promoting tools and resources that offer tips and advice on how they can keep their children safe online.
* In collaboration with the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, Zain published a collective report on child online safety that highlighted the risks and harms that children face online and provided actionable recommendations to address the abuse and exploitation that children face online.
* In June 2020, Zain established a three-year partnership with UNICEF, signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to work towards the advancement of the rights of children in the region. Zain and UNICEF will collaborate based on their respective expertise on strengthening activities around child rights. The MoU covers aspects on online gaming, raising awareness on child online safety and convening stakeholders on online protection.
* Through its partnership with UNICEF, Zain collaborated to create a Child Online Safety Booklet for school students and children. The goal of the booklet is to educate children on the risks that they might be exposed to while being connected online or while gaming. In addition, the booklet gives tips and recommendations on what to do and not to do while online. This booklet was developed for Zain eSports to disseminate to any partnership where children are key players.
The Internet Monsters campaign is currently live on all Zain Group and country operations social media channels: www.facebook.com/zain; www.twitter.com/zain; www.youtube.com/zain; www.instagram.com/zaingroup; www.linkedin.com/company/zain