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Cyber-literacy ‘key to responsible internet usage by children and young adults’ – Mitchell

25 October, 2017 - by Denise Mitchell TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs, Deputy Denise Mitchell, has said that cyber-literacy and education on the use of the internet and digital platforms is key to responsible online behaviour.

Speaking after a meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs, Deputy Mitchell said:

“We’re seeing a huge increase in the use of online digital technology, particularly amongst children and teenagers. While this brings tremendous benefits, there are also dangers ranging from cyber-bullying to child exploitation. It is incredibly important that children and young people are literate in usage of the internet and social media. Therefore I believe increased education on the use of apps, social media and digital platforms is of serious importance to ensuring young people are aware of some of the potential dangers and also that they use technology in a responsible manner. Education of parents and teachers is also key.”

Deputy Mitchell also discussed with the Garda representatives the need to ensure serving Garda members have an understanding of issues surrounding cyber-bullying and cyber-crime:

“I think many people are worried that complaints made regarding either online threats, cyber-crime or cyber-bullying to their local Garda station may not be taken seriously. That is why I was very pleased to hear the Gardaí’s plan for Regional Cyber Crime Investigation Units which are being established across the State.”

She also called for the establishment of an Office of the Digital Safety Commissioner:

“My colleague Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has proposed the establishment of such an office with responsibility for promoting digital safety online, reviewing and regulating harmful digital communications on the internet as well as other digital platforms with the intention of establishing safer and healthier attitudes for all users of digital platforms.

“The intention of this Bill is to improve active online citizenship and promote a positive online culture in a way that makes the internet, apps, and other related technologies and platforms increasingly hospitable for all users; and provide a safer experience, particularly for more vulnerable users and children.” 

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