Who are our children talking to online, asks ISPCC as it launches new campaign ahead of Safer Internet Day 2024.

ISPCC has developed a new ad campaign alerting parents to the dangers of online grooming in the run up to Safer Internet Day on February 6.

One thing we know for sure is that the online landscape is ever-changing, and that’s a scary prospect for even the most tech-savvy of parents.

We have released a range of helpful articles and videos on our Digital Ready Hub, and Parenting Hub to help equip parents with the tools to teach their children how to stay safe when they’re online while also encouraging them not to fear new technology. 

We are also delighted to bring you this FREE webinar series to coincide with Safer Internet Day 2024. These webinars aim to support families and their young people to be safe online. 

Register below:

  • ‘Don’t teach your kids to fear the online world, teach them to navigate It’ Parents webinar, Wednesday, February 7, 7pm to 8pm. Click here to register
  • “Don’t fear the online world, navigate it’ Parents and young people webinar, Thursday, February 8, 7pm to 7.30pm. Click here to register

Parents, face your fears, teach your children to be safe online with FREE webinars from ISPCC

January 22, 2024

New year, new you, new evolutions in the online world. One thing we know for sure is that the online landscape is ever-changing, and that’s a scary prospect for even the most tech-savvy of parents. 

But ISPCC can help equip you with the tools to teach your children how to stay safe when they’re online while also encouraging them not to fear new technology. 

ISPCC parenting lead Siobhan Harvey and Niamh Clarke, Manager of ISPCC Smart Moves programme, are hosting a one-hour webinar designed to help parents to learn more about online safety and to develop the key skills necessary to support their child. 

But it is also important to involve your child in learning how to safely navigate online. So the following day, ISPCC is hosting a second, 30-minute webinar aimed at children aged 12 years and over accompanied by a parent.

The aim of this series of webinars is to help parents and carers to recognise ways to interact with your child’s online world and day-to-day experiences and to allow young people to discuss their feelings in a safe space.

Our goal is to encourage parents to reflect on how you might support your child to navigate the online world, as well as implement digital boundaries. We will provide guidance on how parents and young people can deal with cyberbullying and upsetting content online and we will offer practical solutions and tips to help your child stay safe online.

ISPCC’s webinars will provide a non-judgemental place to ask questions, while also offering key take-aways in bite-size, easily digestible chunks. 

We at ISPCC know only too well the importance of staying safe online. Children and young people tell us their concerns through our 24/7 Childline listening service, through our therapeutic services and through our Shield Anti-Bullying programme. 

We understand that parents, carers and young people are concerned that our increasing reliance on digital technologies are exacerbating feelings of anxiety and depression among our youth, and we’re here to listen and to help.

Webinar details are:  

  • Parents webinar, Wednesday, February 7, 7pm to 8pm. Click here to register
  • Parents and young people webinar, Thursday, February 8, 7pm to 7.30pm. Click here to register

Childline by ISPCC reports over 100 contacts made in relation to sexual abuse in past month

  • Ireland’s only 24hour listening service for children and young people launches national Christmas appeal as harrowing statistics reveal up to 10 contacts per week from teenagers pertaining to rape

Dublin, November 27th, 2023 – Childline by ISPCC has today launched a national Christmas appeal with heartbreaking statistics that reveal Ireland’s only 24-hour listening service for children and young people receives:

• 120,000 contacts each year of which almost one quarter are classified “level 4” – the most concerning.

• 26 contacts from children and young people in relation to child sexual abuse on a weekly basis. 

• 169 contacts about incest to date (November 27th, 2023)

• Weekly Childline by ISPCC receives between five to 10 contacts from teenagers about rape. 

 

This Christmas the team of staff and volunteers at ISPCC will be working hard to address these horrifying statistics. The 24/7 Childline listening service means that there is always someone to listen if a child or young person needs to share their story, during the festive season and all through the year.

 

Many of the contacts received by the team at ISPCC are heartbreaking. One of our volunteers Ciara* spoke several times to a little girl named Orla* who rang about how scared she was of the monster who came to her bedroom at night. 

 

This monster should have been one of the most trusted people in her life, but nine-year-old Orla was being sexually abused by a member of her family. 

 

Another volunteer Maria* tells of a young caller Jess* who was also being abused at home. Jess had been calling Childline regularly and through talking to our volunteers had built up her courage and determination to protect and save her siblings from her own horrifying experience. 

 

Orla and Jess’s experiences are not rare. According to the CSO Sexual Violence Survey 2022, 41% of respondents, aged 18-24, experienced sexual violence as a child. Of those surveyed, 83% of victims knew the perpetrator.

 

Mairead McGinn, Director of Fundraising, ISPCC said: “Childline relies heavily on public generosity to help keep us here for every child and young person 24 hours a day. We depend on donations for up to 75% of the funding which keeps us listening 24hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year. Every donation, no matter how small, makes a real difference and helps to ensure that we always provide a listening ear and support to those who need it.”

 In addition to our 24/7 Childline service, ISPCC is also playing an active role to help prevent child sexual abuse through a number of proactive initiatives.

 

“At ISPCC, we know how important technology is as a means of combatting child sexual abuse. We are delighted to be involved in the GroSafe research project with TU Dublin, the aim of which is to develop a technology-enabled solution to build societal resilience to child grooming,” said Fiona Jennings, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, ISPCC.

 

She continued: “We are also working with TU Dublin in an End Violence Against Children funded research project to develop a tool that reveals the patterns of adults perpetrating online child sexual abuse and the children who are affected by such violence.”’

 

To donate this Christmas, go to www.ispcc.ie/christmas-appeal-2023/

*Names have been changed 

 

ENDS

 

A new national hub for ISPCC as “Team Childline” logs over one million hours dedicated to listening to children and young people 24/7

ISPCC CEO John Church with Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman

For 35 years, Childline has been part of the fabric of Irish society and as we celebrate the opening of our new national hub in Dun Laoghaire with Roderic O’Gorman, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, we remain as dedicated as ever to our mission of supporting children and young people.  

ISPCC staff and volunteers are a united team, determined that there will always be someone to listen if a child or young person needs to talk.  

John Church, CEO ISPCC said: “Our new national hub is a tangible demonstration of our continuing commitment to the needs of children and young people and reflects our desire to provide the best possible working environment for the teams delivering Childline’s full suite of services.  The contemporary space enables us to continue to pursue and deliver a digital-first strategy, ensuring that we are there for every child or young person in Ireland. Anytime and for any reason.” 

“The ISPCC has played an important role in the support and protection of children and young people in Ireland over many years. It has created an anonymous and non-judgemental space for children and young people to be heard and to be listened to, and I hope ISPCC staff and volunteers enjoy many productive years in their new national hub,” said Minister O’Gorman. 

Staff and volunteers are at the very heart of Childline. They give back in the most generous spirit. One million hours is a phenomenal amount of time, equating to 114 years or 41,666 days. And yet that is the amount of time that ISPCC’s amazing volunteers have dedicated to Childline’s 24/7 listening service.  

Val Beegan, a volunteer who has been involved with Childline for over 25 years, says the most crucial issue over the last quarter century is the decline of mental health in children and young people.  

Mental health is one of the most common reasons children and young people contact helplines, including Childline, according to the recently published Voices of Children & Young People Around the World global child helpline data report.  

In just five days’ time (November 20), it is World Children’s Day, a day to support children’s rights. By then, Childline will have had over 85,000 connections with children and young people since the start of 2023.  

“There has never been a more important time than now to prioritise the mental health of young people, as families face financial uncertainty, while young people tackle new levels of social media pressure and are exposed to the reality of wars and a global pandemic at a very early age,” said John Church. Childline can be reached online at Childline.ie or by calling 1800 66 66 66. 

Some young people may feel that their issue is not important enough to seek support. But we believe everything in life is worth talking about.  

So if you really love Christmas, c’mon and let it show… by wearing a Christmas jumper for Childline

‘Tis the season, so don’t even try to resist… oh no, oh no… Instead embrace that Christmas sparkle. Don’t be a grinch saying ‘where’s me jumper?’, instead get it on for Childline this Christmas…

Getting dressed up is all part of Christmas fun. We’ve thought of the perfect way for you to show off your fabulously festive attire by hosting a Christas Jumper Day in aid of Childline your workplace, school, club or creche. You can even do it virtually for colleagues who aren’t in the office.

Everyone is invited to this fundraiser for Childline, Ireland’s only 24/7 listening service for children and young people.

Go to https://www.idonate.ie/event/childlinechristmasjumperday to set up your fundraising page. When you create your page, Childline by ISPCC will be in touch to help you pick a date for you and your colleagues, friends or family and can post out posters, stickers and balloons if needed!

We will also send you email signature, a zoom/teams background if needed as well as digital posters and proposed social media posts.

We’ve made our list, you see, and we’ve certainly checked it twice!

Together we can make a real difference for children and young people throughout Ireland.

ISPCC needs to raise over 75% of its funding through donations each year to ensure we can be there to support children and young people 24-hours a day, 365 days of the year.  We rely on the generosity of the public and are grateful for all support. We encourage children to reach out for any reason.

ISPCC welcomes Budget proposals for improved mental health services for children and young people but notes there’s more to be done

ISPCC welcomes Minister Mary Butler’s Budget 2024 announcements for children and young people’s mental health, in particular the creation of a new central referral mechanism. This will allow the HSE to triage referrals to the right service ensuring what the Minister refers to as a ‘no wrong door’ approach. We know first-hand of the frustrations of children and families when they are trying to access appropriate support and end up being moved around from waiting list to waiting list.

The allocation of funding for a new mental health app is positive and ought to help with signposting users to the services and supports that are available.  

We also welcome the Minister’s comments on the important role NGOs, such as ISPCC, play in the delivery of mental-health support services in the community. As an organisation dedicated to supporting children and young people, ISPCC recognises the need for systemic change in how we, as a society, address mental-health concerns. Therefore, it is heartening to hear that a new head has been appointed to lead the work on reforming child and youth mental health.

The Budget 2024 investment is a welcome successor to that contained in Budget 2023. Then, funding was allocated for the first ever Clinical Lead for Youth Mental Health and the establishment of a dedicated National Office for Child and Youth Mental Health. These are both key steps in providing leadership and oversight in this area.

ISPCC Head of Policy and Public Affairs Fiona Jennings says that “we recognise the systemic challenges our mental-health sector faces and believe these can only be overcome by a concerted effort among all stakeholders. The announcement of a triage service to help direct children and young people to appropriate services is hugely welcome and will go some way to alleviating waiting lists.

“However, mental health funding remains a long way off from the 10% target of overall health spending by 2025.”

The combination of the proposed triage system, the establishment of the child poverty and wellbeing unit in the Department of An Taoiseach and that mental health may be a spotlight issue in the next national policy framework for children and young people mean that these initiatives ought to go some way to realising the pathfinder way of working and we welcome this.

Children with complex needs are a group of children who will require a particular focus and all efforts must be employed to ensure they do not slip through the cracks.

There has never been a more important time than now to prioritise the mental health of young people, as families face financial uncertainty, young people tackle new levels of social media pressure and they are exposed to the reality of wars and the aftermath of a global pandemic.

At Childline, we are dedicated to helping children with difficult situations and empowering them to strengthen their resilience, equipping them to cope with adversity and to come back even stronger after a difficult or stressful experience.

Childline can be reached online at Childline.ie or by calling 1800 66 66 66.

The service is confidential, non-judgemental and non-directive, meaning it doesn’t tell children and young people how to solve their problems.

Some children may feel that their issue is not important enough to seek support. But we believe everything in life is worth talking about.

Making their mark – the tattoo shops teaming up for Childline

Three tattoo shops in Cork are coming together for one day only to support the fabulous work carried out by ISPCC volunteers on our 24/7 Childline listening service. 

On Friday, October 13, 2023, Black Poppy, Smiley Dogg and Art Lab will donate 100% of their profits to ISPCC. Customers can choose from flash sheets ranging from €60 to €100, while temporary tattoos are also available, including Childline-related symbols and Friday the 13th effects. 

The three shops will be open from 11am to 6pm, and people can donate in each studio when they’re paying for their tattoo. Those who are unable to make the event or want to make an extra donation can go to the Childline idonate page: https://www.idonate.ie/cause/ISPCC

For Dee Byrne of Smiley Dogg Tattoo, teaming up with their supposed rivals was an easy decision. “By uniting with other tattoo studios in the community in support of the Childline fundraiser, we are demonstrating that art, compassion and collective effort can bring about meaningful change,” says Dee. 

She adds that Childline’s mission of providing a lifeline for vulnerable children and adolescents resonates deeply with her and her fellow creatives at Smiley Dogg Tattoo, which has two branches in Cork city – at North Main St and Oliver Plunkett Street. 

“We hope that by engaging in this fundraiser, we can channel our creative passion into making a difference in these young lives. Each ink stroke will serve as a symbol of optimism and hope, a testament to the resilience of these youngsters and a reminder that art can go beyond visual appearances to positively impact lives.”

Dee’s feelings are echoed by Jacob Stahlecker, co-owner of Black Poppy, which is located on Father Matthew St, who says that the artists at the studio have been committed to giving back to our adopted homes and community since it opened in 2020. He is very happy to support the fundraiser for Childline, a service that provides support for all children and young people, no matter what’s on their mind. 

ISPCC needs to raise over 75% of its funding through donations each year to ensure we can be there to support children and young people 24-hours a day, 365 days of the year.  We rely on the generosity of the public and are grateful for all support. We encourage children to reach out for any reason.

 

 

ISPCC and acclaimed author Katie O’Donoghue team up for FREE webinar on coping with anxiety for primary-school teachers and their students

Anxiety can strike even the youngest among us, and it’s never too early to learn coping strategies. So ISPCC and acclaimed author Katie O’Donoghue are collaborating to present ‘The Little Squirrel Who Worried’, a free workshop for primary-school teachers and their students on September 26. 

The one-hour webinar is aimed at children aged between five and eight years of age.  ISPCC parenting leads, Siobhan Harvey and Niamh Clarke, will be joined by Katie O’Donoghue, an author, illustrator and art psychotherapist.  

 The webinar is based on Katie’s debut book ‘The Little Squirrel Who Worried’, the tale of a woodland creature who hasn’t left his nest since last autumn. He needs to gather nuts for the long winter to come but he’s too worried to leave his cosy home.

This well-being workshop combines creative therapeutic activities and storytelling. All that is needed to participate in the webinar are the following:

• Colouring templates, provided by ISPCC

• Sheets of blank paper

• Colouring pens/crayons/markers

• An envelope for each participating child

• Parent information guidance sheet on worry time, provided by ISPCC

This is the latest collaboration between ISPCC and Katie after a successful webinar series earlier this year, which focussed on strengthening resilience and coping with anxiety. 

We at ISPCC know what is worrying children and young people in Ireland; we know what is on their minds and we know how to support them.

Participants who register by clicking here will also be in with a chance to win a signed copy of Katie’s latest book The Little Otter Who Tried, which aims to teach children valuable lessons about self-care, resilience and the best ways of asking for help.

Webinar details are:  

Tuesday, September 26, 11.30am to 12.30pm

Ends

Could you help Childline listen to children?

The Childline listening service is now recruiting volunteers for its offices in Dun Laoghaire, Limerick, Galway, Cork and Drogheda. Our volunteers are dedicated to helping Ireland’s children.

The service provided by ISPCC is always available to any child and young person across Ireland who would like to talk about any topic on their mind.  

Childline’s 24/7 listening service is free and confidential and can be reached online or by phone.  

Volunteers with the service come from all walks of life and are united by one common purpose: to help ensure no child or young person in Ireland has to face their challenges alone.  

An excellent team spirit and sense of support prevails at Childline units throughout the country. Volunteers receive full training in advance of answering their first contact and ongoing support and upskilling thereafter. 

Childline regional supervisor Mary Nolan Durkan says: “Childline volunteers play a vital role in helping to ensure there is always someone there to listen, support and empower children and young people in Ireland when they seek a listening ear. The Childline training course is a comprehensive course which equips volunteers with the skills to deliver a quality service to children.”

One of our volunteers Dee says that she never expected to get so much back from volunteering in her own life. “I have learned so many new skills and made friends from all walks of life. We are all united with a common purpose: to make sure every child has somewhere they can turn.”

Another volunteer Liz says that although she was initially nervous at the thought of becoming a volunteer with Childline, she is delighted that she did it. “People always think that you’re dealing with the most neglected children of society but this is not necessarily the truth, so many children just need to talk. It tugs at my heartstrings that so many children need Childline.”

If you would like more information on becoming a Childline volunteer and helping the service to listen to children and young people, please contact [email protected]

ISPCC says a huge thank you to our fabulous volunteers

This National Volunteering Week (15-21 May, 2023), ISPCC wants to say a huge thank you to all our wonderful volunteers who are always available to listen to children and young people throughout Ireland.

We couldn’t provide the services and support we do without our selfless volunteers who go out of their way time and again to offer support to those who need it, whenever they need it, no matter the reason.

“Our dedicated volunteers and teams around the country listen and support children and young people, no matter what is on their mind or what they may be going through,” says Caroline O’Sullivan, ISPCC Director of Services. “Childline is there, unconditionally for them.  Our online chat service is ideal for children who may feel more comfortable seeking support by typing and messaging about what is going on for them.”

According to Megan Sarl, who has been volunteering with Childline for 10 years, the conversations through online have become increasingly serious, with self-harm a big issue, as well as anxiety, stress over exams and family disagreements also being regularly discussed. For teens, body image and stress over social media is causing a lot of anxiety. 

The Childline 24/7 listening service is anonymous, a fact that Megan thinks really helps children and young people to express what’s on their mind to a supportive listener.

“So many people feel that they can’t talk to others about what’s going on in their lives,” says Val Beegan, a volunteer with Childline’s Limerick unit. Val knows all about what’s on the minds of children and young people as she’s been volunteering with Childline for over 25 years. 

Val has been involved in every type of conversation from children devastated to be thrown out of their friends’ what’s app group to young people wanting to stop self-harming but unable to do so.

They all need to be heard, says Val, and talking can make a real difference.