Celebrated in more than 180 countries worldwide, today, February 6th marks the 21st anniversary of Safer Internet Day, which has become a landmark global event in the online safety calendar. The theme for Safer Internet Day 2024 is ‘Tech in our World’ and through a series of events taking place involving 200,000 children and young people from schools and organisations across Ireland, will explore the role of digital technology in young people’s lives, their views on new and emerging technology and the changes they would like to see enacted online.
Safer Internet Day 2024 kicks off today with an event hosted in Microsoft’s Dream Space and will feature contributions from the Webwise Youth Advisory Panel; Niamh Hodnett, Online Safety Commissioner; Kieran McCorry, National Technology Officer, Microsoft, and Dr Emma Murphy, School of Computer Science – TU Dublin. The session will also include interactive stakeholders’ discussions that will explore some of the opportunities and challenges as they relate to the role of the internet and digital technology in young people’s lives.
Webwise Youth Panellist Billie Constantinou, 19, said:‘We live in a world where internet technology is constantly evolving, one where we wake up with new AI capabilities, new apps and new trends every single day. To discuss tech in our world, we must understand that the future is uncertain and being able to adapt in tandem with this advancing online technology is a key skill in ensuring our safety in this every changing world.’
The themes that will be explored at today’s event will encourage schools, children, teens and parents to:
- Reflect: an opportunity to reflect on tech in their world, the challenges, opportunities and big changes.
- Recognise: give learners an understanding of the influence of digital technology in their daily life, exploring the concept of persuasive design and the influence of algorithms.
- Reset: learn tips to help reset online experiences and empower young people to make the most of their online world.
Niamh Hodnett, Online Safety Commissioner said: “I am delighted to celebrate my first Safer Internet Day as Online Safety Commissioner by taking part in Webwise’s ‘Tech in our World’ session. Safer Internet Day is a great chance for me to hear the views of young people on the role technology plays in their lives. It is also an opportunity to highlight the work of Coimisiún na Meán including preparing our first Online Safety Code, as part of our overall online safety framework. I would especially like to commend the essential work of the Irish Safer Internet Centre in supporting parents, children and teachers in navigating the online world in a safe and responsible way through the work of Webwise, the ISPCC, the National Parents Council and Hotline.ie.”
Minister for Education Norma Foley T.D. said:“Safer Internet Day is a day in which we focus on promoting the safer use of the internet by children.
We acknowledge the great work of our schools. We salute too the work of Webwise and the Oide Support Service for Teachers, who provide additional resources and training to schools and webinars for parents to support them in keeping their children safe on the internet.
“Of course, we’re also very keen that parents would continue to engage with the guidelines that have been presented around the use of smartphones for young people in primary schools.”
Safer Internet Day in Ireland is coordinated by the Irish Safer Internet Centre, a partnership between Webwise, ISPCC, National Parents Council and Hotline.ie, providing a range of complementary online safety services, including an education and awareness centre, child and parent helplines and a hotline. The Centre is coordinated by the Department of Justice and co-funded by the European Union.
Irish Safer Internet Centre
The Irish Safer Internet Centre is a partnership of four leading organisations – Webwise, Hotline.ie, ISPCC and National Parents Council, with a mission to make the Internet a better place for children and young people, under the coordination of the Department of Justice – Cybercrime Division. The Irish Safer Internet Centre partner organisations work towards a shared mission of making the internet a safer and more inclusive place for children and young people.
Webwise is the online safety initiative of the Department of Education and co-funded by the European Commission. Webwise promotes safer, better internet use through awareness raising and education initiatives targeting teachers, children, young people and parents. Webwise develops and disseminates resources that help teachers integrate digital citizenship and online safety into teaching and learning in their schools. Webwise also provides information, advice, and tools to parents to support their engagement in their children’s online lives. Webwise is part of Oide, a new support service for teachers and school leaders, funded from the Department of Education.
Hotline.ie is Ireland’s primary national channel for members of the public to anonymously and confidentially report suspected illegal content online, such as child sexual abuse material, technology facilitated child sexual exploitation – child grooming, non-consensual sharing of intimate images and videos (also known as intimate image abuse), racism and xenophobia, and financial scams. Further information can be found here.
ISPCC operates the Childline Listening Service, Ireland’s only 24-hour active listening service for children and young people. The service is here to listen to children, to support and empower them and to help to strengthen their resilience so they can cope with any challenges they face. Any child or young person can contact Childline for free and in confidence, at any time, to talk about any issue on their mind. The service can be reached online at Childline.ie or calling 1800 66 66 66. Parents/caregivers can check out the Digital Ready Hub to upskill their knowledge on the digital environment.
National Parents Council (NPC) provides a dedicated helpline to support parents and carers in dealing with issues relating to online safety, including cyberbullying. The National Parents Council also provides parents with training courses, both online and face-to-face. Further information about the National Parents Council Helpline can be found here.