Jerusalemite children and youth face challenges in digital rights protection

PNN/ Ramallah/

7amleh – The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media published “Digital Safety Among Jerusalemite Children and Youth”.

The report explores the needs and capacities of Palestinian children and youth in East Jerusalem regarding digtial safety through quantitative and qualitative research methods.  This included focus groups, interviews and surveys with adolescents, interviews with mothers, counsellors and representatives from civil society organisations. Furthermore, a qualitative study analysed the magnitude of the phenomenon.

“Digital Safety Among Jerusalemite Children & Youth” shows how the majority of East Jerusalem adolescents constantly feel surveilled and unsafe on the Internet, as a result of both cultural and familial reasons, as well as Israeli authorities and strangers’ influence on the online space. It also shows how primary care givers and school counselors are lacking skills to protect children and youth online. Some key findings include:

  • 87% of children and youth rarely or never participate in political discussions online due to fear of prosecution
  • More than 50% of children and youth have been exposed to verbal violence online
  • 51% of mothers, and 82% of counsellors admitted that they lack the skills to monitor the adolescents Internet use

Children and youth living in East Jerusalem – unlawfully annexed by Israel – face unique challenges in the protection and safeguarding of their digital rights due to a lack of representation and access for the Palestinian Authority to the city, as well as the systematic neglect of East Jerusalem residents by Israel.

This report is designed to help 7amleh and other local and international organizations and actors working to protect the rights of Palestinians in East Jerusalem develop programmes and interventions to meet the community’s needs and has informed 7amleh’s digital safety work in East Jerusalem. The report recommends increasing the availability of digital safety trainings for children, youth, counsellors and parents in East Jerusalem, including surrounding the impact of video games, mainstreaming of digital safety education in school curriculums, and forming a guiding framework for adolescents, parents and counsellors on organizations they can turn to in case of Internet abuse