NI stresses importance of cyber security on #SaferInternetDay2020

  • Photo: Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill with the pupils of Holy Trinity P.S.

    Today (11 February) is Safer Internet Day 2020 with the theme being ‘Together for a better Internet’.

    62% of children in Northern Ireland claim to have seen hateful content online and there has been a 6% increase in parents becoming increasingly concerned about their child seeing content which might encourage them to harm themselves, according to Ofcom statistics.

    Executive Ministers have issued a serious message to promote cyber security and reduce these concerns.

    Education Minister Peter Weir visited Ashfield Girls’ School in Belfast and said: “Safer Internet Day is an opportunity to increase awareness of online safety for children and parents alike.  We all know that the internet is a rich source of information and entertainment which provides many new and exciting opportunities for teaching and learning. However, it is vital that we are aware of the potential dangers and ensure that young people are protected and educated on appropriate and responsible usage.

    “Safeguarding children online is of paramount importance.  The C2k’s Education Network service which is available to all pupils has been designed with a clear focus on online safety.  It has built in controls to protect users as well as operating a rigorous internet filtering policy.

    RELATED: Over half of NI kids have seen hateful content online

    “Teachers and parents play a crucial role in supporting children to navigate the risks and make the most of technology. Teachers can give pupils opportunities to use and create positive online content and at the same time give them the confidence and the skills to seek help should they encounter problems online. Parents can help by engaging with their children and encouraging them to talk about any concerns.”

    (c) EDPS

    'We all have a collective responsibility'
    Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill reinforced the message during a visit to Belfast’s Holy Trinity Primary School: “We all have a collective responsibility to ensure the wellbeing of our children and young people. In today’s digital age, keeping them safe online is a hugely important part of this. We need to help children to understand and protect against the risks of using the internet, as well as teach them about the importance of being kind and respectful to each other online.

    “Education for young people and their parents about the possible dangers of being online, and how to avoid them, is key. I am really encouraged by the work going on at Holy Trinity in this regard. The school is leading the way in online safety education and has recently received two awards for its work in this area. I was delighted to join them to celebrate that success today.”

    The Google Digital Garage Lab in Belfast has been running some free online safety training sessions today, but don't worry if you missed them. It will be providing free weekly courses and special events to help the general public stay on top of modern technology. Make sure to check their calender for updates.

    To keep up-to-date with online safety, make sure to check updates on our Cyber Security hub regularly. 

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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