Online Sense is ICDL Arabia's philanthropic arm aimed at raising public awareness on Cyber Safety.

Two pieces of news that emerged recently point towards a trend that might be exposing children in the UAE to the risks of the online world, even with their parents’ knowledge.

A recent lawsuit in USA claims that Viacom and Disney are collecting data such as location, browsing history through their online game for children, for advertising and other commercial purposes. The apps in question are embedded with trackers which can access geographical information, browsing history, and third party information, this data is then sold on. Children in the UAE play most of these games unaware of their possible risks.

The fact that children in the UAE are exposed to these risks is highlighted by a Kaspersky research which found out that “not enough parents in the UAE are taking the required steps to protect their children online.”

According to the Kaspersky research, only a little more than a third (36%) are regularly talking to their children about the dangers online and bringing the Internet into family conversation and 33% are regularly checking the Internet history on the browser.

Children using smartphones and tablets has become a common sight as parents find it convenient to keep young ones engaged by giving them these gadgets. While children spend most of their time playing online games, they might be giving away sensitive data that could put your family’s privacy at risk.

Let’s accept it, it’s virtually impossible to track every online activity of your child unless you install an app to do that for you. The safest bet is to install offline games that minimise chances of private information such as location and browsing history being stolen. There are many offline games you can choose from, for your Android or iOS device.

Encouraging your children to play offline games not only lessens privacy issues but also keeps them safe from harmful radio frequencies that mobility devices emit while online.

In case your child does insist on playing that online game, you can still try and safeguard the most vital information that apps can spy on – your location. Check which app is tracking your location, through your Android and iOS device settings.