Safer Internet Day 2021: Free webinars for parents and teachers


Safer Internet Day 2021 takes place on Tuesday, February 9th and promises to deliver a fascinating insight into internet safety and how we can empower young people to make healthier online choices.

If you’re a parent, carer or teacher, there are three seminars happening over the course of the week that will help you understand the challenges facing the next generation and how to help them.

Hosted by the Irish Safer Internet Centre, here are the details for the #BeKind Online Webinar Series:

Tuesday, 9 February: 7.30pm-8.15pm 

·     Title: Empowering Healthy Online Behaviour in Teenagers

·     Guest Speaker: Dr Nicola Fox Hamilton, cyberpsychology researcher, member of the Cyberpsychology Research Group at the University of Wolverhampton and lectures in Cyberpsychology and Psychology in IADT, Dun Laoghaire.

·     Audience: This webinar is for parents of teenagers.

·     Register here

Wednesday, 10 February 7.30pm-8.15pm

·     Title: Empowering Healthy Online Behaviour in Younger Children

·     Guest Speaker: Mark Smyth, Consultant Clinical Psychologist

·     Audience: This webinar is for parents of younger children.

·     Register here

Thursday, 11 February 7.30pm-8.15pm

·     Title: Empowering students to build digital resilience and manage their online wellbeing

·     Guest Speakers: Jane McGarrigle and Tracy Hogan (Webwise)

·     Audience: This webinar is for teachers, educators, school leaders and education stakeholders.

·     Register here


* Safer Internet Day would not be possible without the support of the European Commission. Currently the funding is provided by the Connecting Europe Facility programme (CEF). Find out more about the EC’s “European Strategy for a Better Internet for Children” on the European Commission’s website.

The Importance of Play in a child’s life


“Just as birds fly and fish swim, children play” (Landreth, 2002) 

We all know that children love to play but did you know that it’s not just a pleasurable activity for them. It’s a vital part of how they grow and develop.

Play is an integrating mechanism. Play organises a child’s thinking, feelings, relationships and physical body, so that everything comes together to support development and learning. The UN Convention of Children’s rights has marked play as a universal right of children in supporting their development.  

The benefits of play involve supporting a child’s growth across four areas – social, emotional, cognitive and physical development.  


  • Social development  

Children acquire social skills with others by listening, paying attention and sharing play experiences.

Play supports children to explore their feelings, develop self-discipline and learn how to express themselves.

It increases their ability to learn problem solving skills, negotiation and conflict resolution.  

  • Emotional development 

Playing fosters positive emotions and supports the growth of resilience.

Play experiences reduce stress in children and help them make sense of their bigger feelings.  

  • Cognitive development 

Engaging in play activities encourages children to develop language and communication skills. 

When children are given the opportunity to choose their own play activities, they can express their choices in words and converse freely.

They learn how to make decisions and make choices, building their confidence and self-esteem.  

  • Physical development 

Engaging in physical play activities can support the development of balance, co-ordination, fine and gross motor skills. 

As the child is using energy while engaging in physical play, it also promotes a better sleeping and eating pattern.  

Playing with your child can foster a positive attachment and strengthen your bond. It can support your child to learn new skills and help you learn more about them.  

Here are some examples of play activities under the following headings:  

Social Development: Any card games 

Emotional Development: Making dens, a castle or a pirate ship from duvets, cushions, chairs and or cardboard boxes.  

Cognitive Development:  Jigsaws or matching games 

Physical Development:  Hopscotch or skipping 


For more ideas on different play activities please see the links below.