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The ISPCC welcomes Moves by Three Ministers to Take Action to Make Children Safer Online

21
Nov, 2017
The ISPCC welcomes today’s meeting of government ministers to discuss potential new legislation to ensure young people’s cyber safety, with particular regard to online bullying and targeted content promoting suicide and self-harm.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone TD, will meet with Minister for Communications Denis Naughten TD and Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan TD later this afternoon to discuss the potential need for greater legislation and regulation in this area.
 
A multi-site interactive conference hosted by ISPCC Childline and Vodafone Ireland Foundation earlier this year gathered the thoughts and experiences of over 100 13 – 17 year olds on their online safety and found that young people felt there should be better regulation of social network providers, as well as that they should be better protected online and receive better education in the area of online safety.

ISPCC CEO Grainia Long said: “the ISPCC welcomes this meeting of government ministers to address this significant matter and we look forward to hearing the outcome of their discussions. We would also like to reiterate our call for the Government to commit to publishing a national strategy on children’s cyber safety.

“It is vital that a strategy is published which encompasses law reform, education measures and regulation. Ensuring a comprehensive strategy requires the input of child protection experts, educators and industry members.

“In the ISPCC we hear first-hand the experiences of children who, invariably through a lack of cyber safety education, have experienced the adverse side to being online. They have little awareness of appropriate behavior online, what to do if / when they view inappropriate material and in general how to keep themselves safe. In addition, parents and caregivers are often unaware of how to educate and support their child in navigating the online world and in developing their coping skills.

“Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures, the Government’s national policy for children and young people (2014 – 2020), outlines ‘the prominent role of technology in children and young people’s lives.’ It states ‘the Internet is now the 3rd most popular means of accessing information among young people and plays a growing role in forming and maintaining friendships.’”

Grainia Long continued: “We are pleased that the three ministers are meeting on this important topic and look forward to inputting into plans to make children safer online.”