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Online safety must be key priority for Government – Mitchell

14 September, 2017 - by Denise Mitchell TD

An Office of the Digital Safety Commissioner should be established in order to promote a positive and safe online culture for all, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs Denise Mitchell TD has said.

Deputy Mitchell was responding to the findings of a CyberSafeIreland Annual Report which showed 22% of children were in online contact with strangers while almost 70% of teachers said they do not feel sufficiently resourced to effectively deliver educational messages on internet safety.

The Dublin Bay North TD said:

“With improving digital infrastructure and changing technology, we are seeing children accessing the internet from an increasingly younger age. Online platforms can provide tremendous benefits and resources but they can also pose risks, including exposure to inappropriate or harmful material, and cyberbullying.

“This report recommends that children be empowered to use the internet in a safe and responsible manner. Recently, Sinn Féin published a Bill which aims to establish an Office of the Digital Safety Commissioner. This office would have responsibility for promoting digital safety, reviewing and regulating harmful communications and establishing safer and healthier attitudes for users of digital platforms.

“Online safety is one of the biggest child protection issues of this generation. I hope in the upcoming Budget that the Government will take serious action to promote digital safety and tackle online abuse and harassment.” 

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