The internet has become a part of the everyday lives of so many children and young people in Ireland and while being online can be a very positive experience, all too often we hear of the dangers encountered by children. Online safety is the child protection issue of our time.
Online abuse, intimidation or bullying can be pervasive and can have a long-term impact on a child. It can interrupt a child’s life and intrude into their networks; so too can the viewing of violent, abusive and degrading images online.
A collective effort and acceptance of shared responsibility across statutory and non-statutory agencies is the best approach to prevention, detection and responding to online safety.
As a Safer Internet Ireland Project partner, a member of eNACSO, the European NGO Alliance for Child Safety Online, and a provider of online support services, the ISPCC has been vocal about the risks to children online as well as offering support and guidance to young people and parents about how to navigate the online world safely.
EU Safer Internet Ireland Project Partners:
In 2011, the ISPCC surveyed over 18,000 children and young people on their attitudes and experiences of the internet.
The ISPCC carried out an internal case review in summer 2016 which highlighted online safety as an emerging issue for children. The ISPCC gave evidence to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs on this topic in February 2017, and its evidence attracted significant media attention over the following months.
The ISPCC shared its experiences and concerns with the Joint Committee, which carried out an extensive exploration of the issue in its programme of work in 2017/2018.
The committee’s report on The Cybersecurity of Children and Young Adults was released in March 2018. The government released its first Action Plan for Online Safety 2018-2019 in July 2018. This action plan had been a key ask of the ISPCC.
The ISPCC continues to work for further commitments from government, industry and other key stakeholders to keep children safe online.
The government establised a new National Advisory Council on Online Safety which met for the first time in October 2018. The council is made up of key stakeholders who offer advice and input into government policy on online safety. The ISPCC is delighted to be a member of the council and looks forward to effecting positive change for children's online safety.