We can all work together to create a better and safer internet, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
John McGahon, Fine Gael Seanad spokesperson on Communications is encouraging parents, teachers and children to engage with Internet Safety Day, which is today the 9th of February.
Originally an initiative of the EU SafeBorders project in 2004, Internet Safety Day is now celebrated in approximately 170 countries worldwide.
Senator McGahon said: “Parents, teachers and children all over Ireland should engage with Internet Safety Day, and work together to create a better internet for all. This year’s event is focusing on the theme of ‘Together for a better internet’ and it calls upon all stakeholders to join together to make the internet a safer and better place for all, especially for children and young people.
“When Internet Safety Day started in 2004, we were dealing with very different issues compared to today’s world. We sometimes forget about the fast-changing pace of the internet and how quickly it has evolved. With that pace of change comes risks and it is more important than ever to learn how we can make the internet a safer and more enjoyable place for everyone.
“Internet Safety Day puts a spotlight on this and gives us an opportunity to reassess the approach that both parents and children are taking in terms of ensuring children are safe online.
“For example, parents are encouraged to understand Webcam blackmail and how it happens, how to deal with cyber bullying, and effective ways of cutting down on screen time.
“Classrooms all over the country will be engaging with Internet Safety Day, for example running events on the dangers of Snapchat or tutorials on how to provide identifying details online. Children need to be properly equipped with information in order to be able to handle their lives in the online world.
“Equally, teachers are encouraged to consider safety issues for live lessons and remote learning.
“Government must play its part too. Online safety was a key commitment of Fine Gael before the last election and I am pleased to say that new legislation, The Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill, is going to tackle the spread and amplification of defined categories of illegal and non-illegal but potentially harmful online content. It will do this by providing for regulatory oversight by an Online Safety Commissioner of the systems that online services use to deliver and moderate user-generated content.
“I really encourage all parents, teachers and children to engage with Internet Safety Day to better understand the ever-evolving issues of online safety and how to properly protect yourself. The whole concept is geared towards empowering young people, their teachers and their families to work together to make the best possible use of online technology”, Senator McGahon concluded.