Posted on Categories:For Parents & Teachers, News

Smartphones not Monsters- Taiwan Professor tells parents not to keep Children away from Electronics

Taiwan Professor Benson Yeh has cautioned Parents not to let Childrean treat home electronics products as monsters, because that attitude is going to prevent Taiwan from producing the next generation of creatives and innovators.

At a seminar, the electrical engineering specialist described parents as the biggest potential obstacles to the development of new electronics talent in Taiwan. He said the students who most often dropped out at NTU were those who had not been allowed to use computers, smartphones or tablets before they started their university studies.

Parents needed to abandon the attitude that phones amounted to games, and had to see them as instruments instead, Yeh said. He insisted that if Taiwanese wanted to work at the next generation of innovative enterprises in Taiwan, they needed to acquire the capabilities of working in a digital society and of cooperating across borders.

The COVID-19 pandemic showed that many teachers, students, and parents did not have the required digital literacy to conduct virtual classes, according to Yeh, who created a Facebook group where 140,000 teachers help each other become familiar with the necessary technology.

Posted on Categories:For Parents & Teachers, Guides

Best and Safest Smartphones for Kids in UAE

The best phones for kids give them freedom without putting them at risk.  As school-age kids begin to spend more time away from home, engaged in extracurriculars and growing their social circles, parents might consider a cellular device for checking in. If you’re thinking ‘now’s the time’, here are a few recommendations, keeping parental controls and web safety in mind.

When you decide to introduce your child to a mobile phone, is up to you. According to the US-based non-profit Child Mind Institute, parent advocacy groups prefer to wait until the eighth grade, when teens are around 13 years old. Dr Ateeq Qureshi, senior consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist with the Priory Wellbeing Centre in Abu Dhabi, is of the same opinion.

“Usually one would say that children younger than secondary school age are too young to manage phone use responsibly and, generally, not in need of a phone. They don’t partake in any activities independently, hence they don’t need to communicate with their parents using a phone.

“Ultimately, the need is determined by parents, whether their child requires a communication tool. And, for older children, probably 13 or older (determined by the family), this could be for social communication needs,” explained Dr Qureshi.

Today, there are child-friendly phones with camera and texting capabilities that have zero access to social media apps, like the Gabb Phone. For children aged 10 and under, some mums and dads may opt for watch phones or tablets, instead.

Browse the selection below, from iPhone to elementary watch phones, to find a gadget that best fits your child’s lifestyle. We’ve featured Abdullah’s picks “approved by parents”, with options for budget buys. Shop with Prime to get free, next-day delivery on the device.

1. Best iPhone for Kids: Apple iPhone SE (128 GB)


Budget-friendly latest model
Family Sharing makes it easier to monitor more than one child
Set up age restrictions, and download and purchase approvals
Limit and review screen time from your device
5G cellular network

Family Sharing only works with an Apple ecosystem
Apple’s latest software upgrade, the iOS 16, offers parents its most advanced controls, yet. Your child can access all its new offerings without being bogged down by the high-performance features of, say, an iPhone 14. Keep it plain and simple with the third generation of iPhone SE, launched in 2022. Parents get to set up and manage parental controls via the Family Sharing group. This is especially beneficial if the family has an existing Apple ecosystem. Add age restrictions to your kid’s iPhone content in apps, books and TV shows, set up app limits, restrict communication, request download approvals and more. Another feature called Screen Time helps you encourage downtime – your child can always send a request for more screen time from their phone. If they’re trying to purchase in-game loot, turn on Ask to Buy in the group for approval from the family organiser. Besides parental control, expect fast loading times with the A15 Bionic chip and 5G cellular network. According to reviewers, the battery life is excellent.

2. Best Android for Kids: Samsung Galaxy A53, 5G


Family Link app tracks location, limits access and screen time
Parents don’t need an Android to monitor
Budget-friendly latest model
Eye protection from blue light
Two-day battery life


Charger has to be bought separately
Our expert’s pick, the Samsung Galaxy A53, is a decent mid-range Android smartphone for children. It boasts a bigger screen than the iPhone SE at 6.5 inches, and protects the eyes with a single tap to limit blue light. At this price, you’re getting a 5G-enabled handset, with four rear cameras peaking at 64MP, and a 32MP front camera. As for parental controls, Samsung encourages parents to download Google’s Family Link app on both devices, which will then help them monitor usage. Keep tabs on their screen time, limit access to certain apps and check in on their device’s location. The best part is that parents can run Family Link on their iPhone and still apply settings to their child’s Android phone.

3. Best Value Android Phone: Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro + 5G


Supports Google’s Family Link app
Plays sound crafted by JBL
Large screen
Charges in 15 minutes
Works well for gaming


Camera is subpar
Another budget pick by Abdullah is Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 11 Pro+. This is a 5G-enabled Android device with a 6.67-inch display and capable performance speeds on the Snapdragon 695 chipset. It carries a 108MP triple camera setup, the quality of which is less impressive than expected, report reviewers. So, if this is a feature you can compromise on, the Note 11 Pro+ definitely fits the bill as a stylish economical handset. Its sound is crafted by the audio brand JBL to curate the perfect audio experience. Plus, the phone charges for the entire day in just 15 minutes. With 8GB RAM, 120Hz refresh rate and cooling technology, it can handle your child’s gaming sessions, too. Set up parental controls with Google’s Family Link app.

4. Best Rugged Phone on a Budget: Ulefone Armor X8, 4G


Safe from drops, dirt and water
Retains important features, like GPS and NFC
Waterproof cameras
Approved by parents in the reviews


Only 4GB of RAM
Ulefone Armor X8 is a 4G Android phone designed for those who work in damage-prone settings. Its invincible ruggedness protects the device from water, high-pressure jets, dirt and falls, making it perfect for teens with an active lifestyle. The 13MP and 5MP cameras are completely waterproof, too. Reviewers say that it can run your basic social apps, GPS and music – at this price point, though, speeds tad slower than flagship phones should be expected. Mums and dads in the reviews have picked the handset up for their teenage sons, since it can survive more than just a few drops.

5. Best Watch Phone: MyFirst Fone R1 , Black


Makes and receives audio and video calls
Carries Wi-Fi and 4G LTE support
SOS button sends a 30-second live recording of surrounding sounds
GPS tracking with geo-fencing


Video calls might not be possible in the UAE
If your child isn’t quite ready for a mobile device, try a watch phone instead. MyFirst Fone R1 is a waterproof GPS watch that doubles as a communication device, with SIM card support. It has built-in location services to help you track your little one in real-time, and if they’re lost, they can get in touch with you via the SOS button. With a compatible SIM, you can ring your child remotely, or use the Wi-Fi to check in on their study sessions through a video call at home. Parents in the reviews have purchased this for their kids as young as second graders, to watch over them as they take the bus and head to school. They report back clear audio calls, decent tracking and SMS feature.


Posted on Categories:For Parents & Teachers, News

Sextortion – Grieving mother warns Parents after Son’s Suicide

Braden Markus, 15, had what his mother said was an “amazing weekend of football” on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2021. To celebrate, the Ohio teen ordered his favorite food, then “spent the rest of the night doing homework, playing Xbox with his cousins and sleeping,” his mom wrote in a Facebook post.

“Typical life of a teenager,” Jennifer Argiro-Markus, Braden’s mom, added.

Less than 24 hours later, Braden died by suicide. His family believes he was a victim of cyber “sextortion.” Local authorities have opened a criminal investigation into the case.

‘I am only 15, why are you doing this to me?’

At 11:01 a.m. the next morning, after Braden started working on his driver’s education test and more school work, his mom said a “cyber bully friended” him on Instagram, “posing as a high school girl.”

After five minutes of messaging back and forth, Argiro-Markus wrote that the person asked Braden to “message using Google Hangout.” Braden agreed, but the person he was chatting with was not who they claimed to be.

“Things went south within 30 minutes,” his mom wrote on Facebook.

The online predator sent her son pictures, continuing to claim to be the girl in the photographs. The person then spent the next five minutes “hounding” Braden to send a picture, who his mom wrote repeatedly said no, citing his age.

“The hacker kept the pressure up,” Braden’s mom wrote. “If B got off the account, the hacker would hound him on his Instagram messenger. Eventually, B caved and sent a picture. The Monster knew exactly what to say and what to post to get into a 15-year-old’s brain.”

Once the hacker had a picture of Braden, Argiro-Markus said her son was threatened and told to pay the predator $1,800 or “else the monster” was going to release it among other pictures the hacker took from Braden’s Instagram account.

“The messages go on and on for 27 minutes,” she wrote. “The last five minutes of B’s life, he said over and over again, ‘I am only 15, why are you doing this to me? I am only 15, you will ruin my life.’ It is a thread that in a way I wish I never read, but here we are.” (In her post, Argiro-Markus explained she had to wait 10 months to get a court order to have Apple unlock her son’s phone so she could see what happened.)

At 11:28 a.m., Braden died by suicide.

“He was the kid that was literally loved by everyone, family, friends, teachers you name it,” Argiro-Markus told TODAY Parents. “His smile lit up a room wherever he went. He enjoyed sports, Xbox with his cousins and pranks with his buddies.”

Now, Argiro-Markus is warning parents of the dangers of online sexploitation and honoring her son’s memory with the Braden Markus Memorial Scholarship Fund.

“Make sure you talk to your kids about online cyber crimes. Make sure you tell them over and over that when they make a mistake to come to you, nothing is worth their lives,” the mom wrote on Facebook. “We can’t help our kids if we don’t speak up, and warn them, and try to stop these predators, and you can’t warn them unless you know about it.”

What is online or cyber sextortion?

“Sextortion is a term that is being used in recent years to describe a type of extortion in which a predator will use a sexually explicit image or video of another person in order to either engage with them in a sexual or exploitive relationship online or offline, or to exploit money from their victims,” Donna Hughes, president and CEO of Enough is Enough, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing the internet-enabled exploitation of children, told TODAY.

Posted on Categories:For Parents & Teachers, News

‘Parenthood: The Unconference’-First ever Parenting Conference in Abu Dhabi kicks off

A parenthood conference was held in Abu Dhabi for the first time.  Titled ‘Parenthood: The Unconference’, the event kicked off on 4th November 2022.  Sara Awadh Issa Musallam, Minister of State for Early Education, Chairperson of the Federal Authority for Early Education and Chairperson of Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek), said the dynamics of parenting are constantly shifting and that it was important for parents to adjust to the changes.

Taking place at Etihad Arena on Yas Island the first-of-it’s-kind event promises to inform, inspire, and even challenge the way people think about parenting.

The opening ceremony of the conference was attended by His Highness Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Office.

In her speech, Neo Jane Masisi, the First Lady of Botswana, said that besides a person’s profession, parenthood is the most important vocation.

“Parents, whether biological or otherwise: if what we do while in this world is not for our children, or their children, what, then, is our main driving force in this world?” she asked.

“There are many challenges in raising children as time evolves. What worked for our parents may not necessarily work now.”

Masisi added: “Strong families can only be achieved through proper parenting. Parents have to be responsible and should pass on proper manners and discipline to their children. When children see their parents engaging with other cultures in an intelligent and interactive way, they will want to participate too.”

How to raise children into global citizens while maintaining local identities

In a panel discussion on how parents can raise their children to be global citizens while retaining their sense of local identity, moderated by CNN Anchor, Becky Anderson, Musallam said in order to help children develop a global mindset it helps to have experienced a vast array of cultures firsthand at home.

“Through amplifying cultures within us by practicing them at home, [we] can help pass them on to our children,” said Musallam.

“By cultivating a global mindset and global competency from an early age, children will be equipped with the skills they need to do well in school and to thrive as global citizens who embrace diversity in all aspects of life.”

The minister added that children engaging in discussions with individuals they interact with in the community and across the world is also vital.

“Going back to communities and cultural norms in our education system can help transform our children into responsible [people],” she said.

For Botswana’s First Lady Masisi, children spend a lot of time on social media where they pick up different things like violence and other bad behaviours, in addition to facing risks of online abuse, harassment and extortion.

“It’s therefore the role of parents to protect children from the negative effects of social media. We should lead our children to be the [best they can be], and also to unlearn behaviours and things that don’t benefit them,” she noted.

Another international expert said participating in cultural activities will not only help strengthen the connection between a parent and their child, but will also support their development as a global citizen.

She noted that for a child to develop their own independent drive to continue seeking out new experiences in their future, it’s critical they understand and enjoy experiencing new things and developing into true global citizens.

The event aims to foster a global dialogue to better equip parents facing new and critical challenges in a world where traditional guideposts have disappeared, and previous rulebooks no longer apply.

Offering an enriching program that covers all stages of parenting – from early childhood, to teen years and adolescence – across 5 themes (Identity, New Perspectives, Development, Wellbeing and Early Childhood), visitors will gain access to new and reimagined learning opportunities that can help them become better individuals, spouses, and caregivers.

Posted on Categories:For Parents & Teachers, News

Expo City Dubai to Entertain Families with FREE New Attractions

Expo City Dubai’s Winter City will entertain the entire family over the holiday season beginning from November 23 to January 8, 2023. The Mobility District, Surreal water feature and Al Wasl Plaza will transform into a magical land, lined with a traditional, chalet-style Christmas market, pine trees and fun fairground games, and featuring a towering tree and a letter-to-Santa station.

Kicking off with its family-friendly Fan City on November 20 for the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022, Expo City Dubai will offer 50 days of festivities that capture the spirit of the season. Winter City will also mark 51 years since the UAE’s founding, with National Day commemorations running from November 30 to December 2.

Other highlights at Al Wasl include a dazzling ceremony on Friday,9 December that will bring to life Winter City’s ‘White Christmas’ with the lighting up of the jaw-dropping 52-foot tree; the second edition of Expo 2020’s popular Mrs Claus Christmas Show from December 20-29 ; a first-of-its-kind Carols by Candlelight from 20-25 December; and nightly projection shows.

Ongoing seasonal sparkle includes jumping, sliding, climbing and zip-lining pursuits, as well as gingerbread, wreath and ornament-making workshops; a toy factory that customises teddy bears; and a Santa’s Grotto, while hot chocolate, mulled drinks and mince pies will sweeten the food-and-beverage offering.

Kids aged 6-12 years can join the Winter Camp and enjoy unique indoor and outdoor activities across two themed weeks. Running from 9am-2pm, Monday-Friday, December 12-23, the first week at Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion spotlights the plight of our planet in a fun and informative way, while week two at Alif – The Mobility Pavilion focuses on innovation.

Prices vary according to daily or weekly bookings, with early drop-offs and late pick-up options available.

Expo City Dubai is now a dog-friendly destination, and four-legged friends are welcome to make the most of the extensive outdoor spaces, with designated stations offering complimentary bowls of water, dog treats and waste bags.

Winter City is free to visit, with charges applicable for some activities and workshops.

Posted on Categories:For Parents & Teachers, News

Parents warned of Social media trends targeting kids

Experts in the UAE have once again warned parents to watch out for their kids’ involvement in “unusual activities”, following the emergence of TikTok videos that encourage the youth to try the so-called ‘blackout challenge’.

This particular challenge — which has been in the global spotlight since last year — dares kids to hold their breath until they pass out. In 2021, two girls in the US died after taking part in it, prompting parents to sue the platform.

“Parents need to set boundaries about Internet usage. They should also have an open dialogue and honest conversations with children about Internet safety,” said Dr Nada Omer Mohamed Elbashir, a psychiatrist at Burjeel Hospital, Abu Dhabi.

Adults can help youngsters understand the guidelines better by setting an example and showing them how social media can be used safely, Dr Elbashir added.

“Use parental controls and safe search settings while children browse the Internet. Be up to date on privacy settings. Ensure that you are around when your child is using social media or the Internet, and make sure they are following the age requirement when they want to download Facebook or TikTok or any other app.”

Online bullying

Wellness coaches and psychology experts highlighted that bullying is also prevalent on social media, particularly among teenagers.

It is possible that some kids, they said, are being bullied into doing life-threatening challenges online. Some do it for likes, too.

Girish Hemnani, a life coach in Dubai, said: “To access and implant a suggestion in the subconscious mind, one of the ways is to overload the conscious mind. This is what is happening at the mass level via social media apps.”

“The conscious mind is still developing for children and yet to discern from the thrill and threat, not being able to think it through and be cautious of possible consequences for oneself and/or for others,” Hemnani added.

Even school authorities have a role to play in keeping kids safe online.

“Challenges made popular on social media, such as the ‘Game of Death Challenge’, are a serious concern that should not be overlooked by school authorities,” said Nora Eldrageely, middle school counsellor at GEMS American Academy – Abu Dhabi.

Posted on Categories:Events, For Parents & Teachers

Careers day for creative industry at Jameel Arts Centre

Creative Careers Days is being held at Jameel Arts Centre on Sunday and Monday. It is free and open to students, as well as their parents and teachers. More than 30 booths will be featured, offering visitors an opportunity to meet prominent artists, curators and industry specialists.

The programme will highlight a diverse range of career pathways. It will introduce options in tertiary education, both locally and internationally, and present student and postgraduate open calls, residencies, internships and volunteering opportunities.

Inspirational talks, informational workshops — including how to create and pitch your portfolio — and behind-the-scene museum tours will be running. The programming also includes an opportunity for aspiring high school and university musicians, with a UAE student band and music ensemble showcase.

Students are invited to join career surgery sessions to receive expert advice and guidance on navigating the creative industries. An additional multimedia research zone features behind-the-scenes videos and resources, while the Jameel Library will display a special range of resources on pedagogy and arts education for both students and teachers.

The event is the biggest gathering of its kind to happen in the UAE, according to Antonia Carver, director of Art Jameel. “It’s all spurred by a collective commitment to inspiring and informing the next generation of cultural enthusiasts and professionals,” she added.

“It’s affirming to witness the sheer excitement and dedication across the spectrum, from universities looking to encourage teens to apply for arts degrees, to institutions eager to get to know emerging UAE talent, to the dynamic, creatively-minded youth of the UAE themselves, thirsty to gain knowledge and meet the industry in this ever-growing field.”

Gulf photo plus jameel arts centre event notice

Several institutions and authorities from across the country are set to take part, including the Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, Sharjah Art Foundation and The National Pavilion UAE — La Biennale di Venezia, to name a few.

This event is  UAE’s first annual arts career festival for high school and university students.

Carver said that with the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi expected to open in 2025, and the Dubai Creative Economy Strategy aiming to boost the number of creative and cultural companies to 15,000, while creating 140,000 jobs by 2026, “2022 feels like the right year to launch this major new event boosting homegrown talent development in the creative industries”.

Creative Careers Days will be held at Jameel Arts Centre on Sunday between 10am and 6pm and Monday between 9am and 8pm

Posted on Category:For Parents & Teachers

Online resources for kids to keep them learning

BrainPop has over 1,000 short animated movies for students in grades K-12 , together with quizzes and related materials, covering the subjects of science, social studies, English, math, engineering and technology, health, and arts and music. BrainPop is used in more than 20% of U.S. schools and also offers subscriptions for families and homeschoolers.  BrainPop is available by subscription but has some free content, including a movie of the day, several free movies from each topic area, educators materials, including lesson plans, and an extensive library of educational games called GameUp.

Age group : 6-17 years

Website :

CuriosityStream is a global independent factual media company and video-on-demand streaming service. It exclusively delivers nonfiction documentaries and series about science, nature, history, technology, society and lifestyle. Launched on March 18, 2015, CuriosityStream is headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Age group : 6+

Website :

Tynker is an educational programming platform aimed at teaching children how to make games and programs. Instead of typing the source code, you visually drag blocks of code and snap them together. The visual design and principles are based on the free Scratch, just like Hopscotch and Snap!.

Age group : 5+

Website :

Outschool offers unique online classes from hundreds of independent teachers. Our classes meet via group video chat.Our 10,000+ unique classes span all subjects and reflect the diversity of our teachers. With Outschool, families choose their teachers and their classes based on their needs and interests.

Age group : 3-18 years

Website :

Udemy is a very popular online learning platform aimed at professional adults and students, developed in May 2010. As of Jan 2020, the platform has more than 50 million students and 57,000 instructors teaching courses in over 65 languages. There have been over 295 million course enrollments.

Age group : 13+ years

Webiste :

Beast Academy is a series of illustrated textbooks and workbooks from the math beasts at Art of Problem Solving. Together with the companion website,, Beast Academy provides a rigorous, challenging, engaging, and fun curriculum for aspiring math beasts in grades 2-5

Age group : 8-13 years

Website :

Khan Academy is a non-profit educational organization created  with the goal of creating a set of online tools that help educate students. The organization produces short lessons in the form of videos. Its website also includes supplementary practice exercises and materials for educators. In 2018, Khan Academy created an application called Khan Academy Kids. It is for young two-year-old to six-year-old children to learn basic skills before progressing to grade school.

Age group : 7-17 years

Website :

Creativebug  brings the latest in art and craft education to its members, by working with renowned artists to do just that. By signing up for Creativebug you’ll enjoy unlimited access to thousands of online art and craft classes. Watch classes anytime, anywhere. Classes never expire, you can start and stop projects at your own pace.

Age group : 7-17 years

Website :

Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital curriculum resources for K–12 classrooms worldwide. Programs  inspires educators to go beyond traditional learning with award-winning digital content and professional development.It’s  home to award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content, and the largest professional development community of its kind.

Age group : 5-17 years

Website :

Unacademy, one of the high-profile Indian startups, has urged its employees to learn how to work under constraint and focus on reaching profitability as the SoftBank and Tiger Global-backed online learning platform predicts a dry funding spell across the industry for as long as 18 months.

Website :