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Online Safety Policy

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:

ISPCC Influencing Policy – Background to policy position

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.

ISPCC

 Current policy priorities for online safety

ISPCC and Vodafone Ireland Foundation Partnership

The ISPCC’s partnership with the Vodafone Ireland Foundation has been key in driving forward our work on online safety through our ‘Working to Keep Children Safe Online’ initiative.

National Advisory Council on Online Safety

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. 

Recent ISPCC Press Releases On Online Safety

Young People want a Cyber Safety Strategy and Life Skills Education to Keep them Safe Online

04/05/2017

 

ISPCC Childline and Vodafone Ireland Foundation hosted Ireland’s first multi-site interactive conference for young people, to find out their thoughts and experiences on online safety.

 

The event, connecting over 100 young people (13-17 years) in Dublin, Dundalk, Galway and Cork in a live-streamed workshop, revealed that young people feel that they should be better protected online and should receive better life skills education, including online safety. Young people also feel that there should be better regulation of social network providers.


Describing current life skills and online safety education as ‘outdated’ the young people agreed unanimously that a Children and Young Person’s National Cyber Safety Strategy is needed and that the government should address this as a matter of urgency.


Some of the key points made by young people at the event included that:
– Life skills should have more emphasis on the curriculum
– Online safety awareness should be a key part of the curriculum
– There should be better regulation of providers of social media and clearer take-down, block and reporting procedures across all platforms


The role of education, in ensuring that young people are aware of the risks and opportunities online, and are equipped to deal with something happening to them online was considered essential by the participants.

 

ISPCC CEO Grainia Long stated; “Cyber safety is the child protection issue of our time and it is so important that we listen to young people and children on how this affects them and how, as a society, we should take on the issue. It is clear that a national children’s cyber safety strategy should be an urgent priority for government.

 

“We would like to thank the Vodafone Ireland Foundation for their continued support in the area and thank Vodafone for providing the technology and setting to allow this unique event to happen.”

 

Natalie Hodgess, Vodafone Ireland Foundation said “We are delighted that our technology is facilitating such an important event today. This is the first time we have been able to bring over 100 young people together virtually across four locations and hear their voices and experiences of cyber safety first-hand. We are in the second year of a five-year partnership with ISPCC Childline and are continually impressed by the passion and commitment of the team in raising this important issue at a national level. The calibre of speakers at the event today demonstrates both the reputation ISPCC Childline has and the wider interest in working together to keep children safe online.”

 

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