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Zain partners UNICEF to launch Child Online Safety Booklet

Zain Group, a leading mobile telecom innovator in seven markets across the Middle East and Africa announces its Zain esports gaming brand, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU)with Al-Bayan Bilingual School Kuwait to assist the institution in developing its esports club. The MoU is the first step for Zain towards working with schools and universities to educate students about the vast opportunities in the world of esports locally and regionally.

This MoU coincides with the launch of a ChildOnline Safety Booklet that was developed by Zain GroupSustainability and Esports departments in collaboration with UNICEF. The booklet, available in both Arabic and English, tackles topics such as cyberbullying, scams and phishing, identity theft and data privacy, and much more, and is written in a manner that can be understood by children of all ages.

Under the MoU, Zain esports will provide hardware for Al-Bayan Bilingual School to set up and operate its esports club, along with expertise and support for the school’s staff to run tournaments and organize workshops to educate and enlighten students about the many opportunities in esports and gaming.

Zain is one of the first telecom operators in the region to work with local schools specifically on sports activities, and the company is taking the opportunity to also raise awareness on the importance of young people remaining safe while undertaking activities online. In this regard, the Child Online Safety Booklet will be shared with students at Bayan BilingualSchool and other educational institutions Zain esports interacts with.

The aim of the booklet is to educate children on the risks they may face while connected online or gaming. The booklet also provides recommendations on what to do and not to do while connected. It was developed for Zain esports to disseminate to any partner where children are key players, with the aim to communicate and instil the idea of playing online responsibly. The booklet also points to the Child National Helpline in Kuwait in a bid to raise awareness of the service in the country.

Commenting on the collaboration of Zain esports with Al-Bayan Bilingual School Kuwait, Malek Hammoud, GroupChief Investment and Digital Officer at Zain Group said, “This first of many planned agreements with educational institutions across Kuwait and the region, fulfils the twin goals of expanding awareness of esports among young people in Kuwait, while also teaching them how to enjoy the activity responsibly online. We foresee gaming as the single largest use case for 5G, and such we are dedicating a great deal of effort and resources to seeing Zain operating companies connect to the gaming community to drive this and similar high-value services.”

Zain remains one of the strongest advocates of raising awareness related to child safety online having previously launched a region-wide media campaign targeting over 40 million followers across all its social media channels and an internal announcement to all its 7,000 staff promoting tools and resources that offer advice on how to keep children safe online.

Commenting on the launch of the Child Online SafetyBooklet Jennifer Suleiman, Zain Group’s ChiefSustainability Officer, “Zain takes the issue of child safety online extremely seriously and given the prominent position the company plays in the digital space, we believe it is imperative we spread this message loud and far. We are all well aware of the enormous benefits of digitization, but as a society as a whole we must take strong action to ensure the risks that arise for children through connectivity are known and avoided to the greatest extent possible.”  

Tatjana Colin, Chief Early Childhood Development, UNICEF Kuwait, added, “Children are spending more of their time online than ever before and whilst the internet can be a fantastic resource for supporting education, access to information and recreation, it can also expose children to a broad range of risks. It’s essential that youth are equipped with the knowledge they need on how to stay safe whilst gaming online and where to go for support if you experience inappropriate behaviours online. This booklet is designed to support sharing this knowledge with youth and to encourage them to speak up and seek support if something makes them feel uncomfortable.”

In October 2019, Zain published a collective report on child online safety that highlights the risks children face and provides actionable recommendations to address abuse and exploitation that children may face online. The report was developed in partnership with Childhood USA and Zain Group leadership. Under the working group, Zain launched the Child Online Safety Universal Declaration, which confirmed the working group’s commitment to protect and educate children on how to navigate digital technologies and protect their privacy, security and safety online.

Zain’s esports brand was first launched in late 2020 as part of Zain’s concerted effort to evolve from being a mobile-centric operator to a digital services provider for consumers, businesses, and governments. Six months later, the enormous momentum being enjoyed by the Zain esports brand, has seen it host multiple successful events and garnered over 15,000 registered players, 30,000 followers on its Instagram page, and over 600,000 views and 25 million impressions on various Zain esports channels including YouTube and Twitch.

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