The Children's Rights Alliance and its members, Barnardos, CyberSafeIreland, Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, One in Four, ISPCC, SpunOut.ie have joined forces to ensure that Protecting Children and Young People Online is a priority in the next Programme for Government.
The Internet has revolutionised the modern world, and in turn, the lives of children worldwide; the reality is that they make up one third of global online users. Whilst it brings unparalleled opportunity to children to learn, create, connect and socialise it also brings unparalleled risk, including the loss of personal data, exposure to harmful content, cyberbullying, negative impacts on health, well-being, online grooming and extortion. Most children and young people accessing the digital world have enjoyable and positive experiences. They use the online world to maintain friendships, have fun, support their education and learn about their world. At the same time, the digital world can pose serious threats to the development and protection of children and young people. Online safety is a key child protection issue for our time.
The next Government must act to make the online world safer for children and young people. It is also important that children and young people are educated and empowered to help them stay safe online. As they negotiate the new Programme for Government, we are calling on the parties to put online safety at the top of their agenda by:
(1) establishing a Digital Safety Commissioner;
(2) ensuring that digital citizenship, digital rights and online safety are central to the next Children and Young People’s Strategy;
(3) introducing a comprehensive digital literacy programme in formal and non-formal education at both primary and post-primary level;
(4) investigating and prosecuting online crime and
(5) limiting children and young people’s exposure to content risks online.
Read the full policy document below.