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DIFI ADDRESSES DIGITAL CHANGES AND THEIR IMPACT ON FAMILIES IN A CHANGING WORLD

Date: February 18, 2024

Qatar Foundation member partners with the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the UN ahead of the conference commemorating the 30th anniversary of the International Year of the Family

Doha, Qatar, 18 February 2024: The rapid pace of digitalization was highlighted at a side event organized by Doha International Family Institute (DIFI) – a member of Qatar Foundation – on the occasion of the 62nd Session of the United Nations Commission for Social Development (CSocD62), at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

Under the theme ‘Navigating the Digital Landscape: Fostering Resilient Families in a Transforming World”, the event was held ahead of the conference commemorating the 30th anniversary of the International Year of the Family in 2024 (IYF+30) in partnership with the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the UN.

Her Excellency Alya Ahmed bin Saif Al-Thani, Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations, said: “ The State of Qatar believes that navigating the digital landscape and its impact on families requires a multidimensional approach that puts the best interests of the family at the forefront in terms of policies and strategies related to technology, but also includes government, tech companies, and families working together to ensure a safe and empowering digital environment.”

Dr. Sharifa Al-Emadi, Executive Director of DIFI, highlighted the importance of addressing the overarching trends and their implications on family policies globally, saying: “According to a study conducted by DIFI on ‘Assessing marital relationships in the first five years of marriage across the Arab countries’ in partnership with the League of Arab States, it was found that technology plays a role in connecting people.
“It also contributes to the increase of what is called ‘Electronic Marriage Phenomenon’, especially among Arab Mashreq Countries,” she continued. “Yet, the same study found out that ‘Digital Infidelity’ is one of the contributing factors to early divorce by 7.6 percent from a sample of 1184 respondents across the Arab world.”

Li Junhua, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), said: “If we are to harness the transformative power of digital technologies to create inclusive and just societies, we need to bridge the digital divide, foster resilient families and promote the responsible use of digital technologies.”

Renata Kaczmarska, Focal Point of the Family at the Division for Inclusive Social Development (DISD) of UNDESA, said: “We have witnessed an unprecedented technological transformation over the past few decades. It shapes our economies at large and impacts many aspects of family life and well-being.”

Recommendations for future action include enhancing awareness of the importance of digital literacy and parental guidance in navigating the digital landscape responsibly, as well as a call to action for policymakers, educators, and families to promote resilient families in the digital age and understanding of the multifaceted impact of digital change on families, fostering a collaborative approach to addressing both its opportunities and challenges.

The session concluded by renewing the commitment to bridging the digital divide and ensuring equitable access to digital technologies and resources for all families.

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