Today saw the report of the Online Safety Expert Group on an Individual Complaints Mechanism published by Minister Catherine Martin.
John Church, ISPCC Chief Executive said: “We recognise the work that has gone into this report and thank the members of the expert group for giving their time to form their recommendations and back the feasibility of an individual complaints mechanism.
“We are pleased the Minister has accepted the recommendations and will be progressing these with appropriate amendments as the bill makes its way through the Dáil.”
This is a hugely positive day for children and young people who are the targets of cross-platform cyberbullying. They will be able to avail of a remedy where platforms fail to act when harmful content is reported to them.
John Church continued: “We know first-hand through our suite of Childline services the impact such harmful behaviour online can have on those who are targeted in this manner. There is no ‘watchful eye’ or ‘one good adult’ who looks out for vulnerable children online as they would do in the school yard, on the football pitch or in the dance class.
“If we are serious about wanting our children and young people to engage meaningfully with technology – as is outlined in many of our policies – then it behoves us to provide a safe environment for them. Anything less is irresponsible, even neglectful.”
ISPCC was grateful to have the opportunity to submit to the expert group’s public consultation when it was tasked with examining this complex and important matter. It is crucial that we provide good protections for children online whilst also ensuring they can contribute meaningfully to the digital environment.
ISPCC was clear in its submission that the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill must provide for an effective and efficient complaints handling route for children and young people when platforms fail to act.
ISPCC will continue to work to ensure this bill meets the needs of children and young people and upholds their rights in the digital environment, and that this complaint handling mechanism is realised.
Our child-centered services, programmes and supports are focused on strengthening resilience and developing coping competencies. By listening to, supporting and empowering children and young people, we strive to ensure they are better equipped to face life’s ups and downs and reach their full potential.
We speak out and advocate for meaningful change that will enhance their lives today and leave a legacy of improved childhood experiences for future generations of children and young people.
ISPCC has worked on this issue for many years and appreciates the complexity and nuances of the policy responses required. Today shows that when children talk to us and tell us about their issues, we act accordingly to bring about meaningful change for them.