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ISPCC welcomes publication of Digital Strategy Action Plan; calls for measures to protect young people online

The ISPCC has today welcomed the publication by Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, T.D., of the 2018 Digital Strategy Action Plan. The Plan, which sets out over 80 actions aimed at maximising the potential of digital technology in the classroom, includes a commitment by the Department of Education to actively contribute to enhancing young people’s online safety.
The national child protection charity called for a whole-of-Government approach to protecting young people’s online safety, outlining a number of inter-dependent measures which need to be taken in order to ensure young people can benefit from the potential of digital technologies in a safe and supported environment. These measures include the appointment of an independent Digital Safety Commissioner with statutory powers and the publication of a national strategy on children and young people’s online safety, incorporating elements of education, regulation and law reform.
ISPCC Director of Policy and Communications Cliodhna O’Neill said: “Today’s publication of the 2018 Digital Strategy Action Plan is a welcome step in embracing the huge potential that technologies present for young people. As Minister Bruton outlined, ‘the development of these skills are critical for our young people in an increasingly digital landscape’. It is essential, however, that protective measures are introduced in tandem so that young people can have safe and beneficial experiences online.
“Many elected representatives have made it clear that they want to do the right thing, to keep children safe online. We now need to see that translated into action. A National Action Plan on Online Safety, which was promised for delivery by the end of June, must recognise the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs’ report on the Cybersecurity of Children and Young Adults. It must also recognise the need for additional powers to be granted to An Garda Síochána to enable them to better detect online crime.
“Young people’s online safety is the child protection issue of our time and we need a concerted, whole-of-Government, effort to address it effectively. Construction partnership will move these urgent actions on as quickly as possible and we look forward to the publication of the Government’s action plan in this regard.”

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