Irish Safer Internet Centre
About the organisation
The Irish Safer Internet Centre exists to promote a safer and better use of the internet and mobile technologies among children and young people.
‘Webwise' is the Irish internet safety awareness node. Webwise promotes the autonomous, effective, and safer use of the internet by young people through a sustained information and awareness strategy targeting parents, teachers, and children themselves with consistent and relevant messages. Webwise develops and disseminates resources that help teachers integrate internet safety into teaching and learning in their schools. It also provides information, advice, and tools to parents to support their engagement in their children's online lives. With the help of the Webwise Youth Advisory Panel, Webwise develops youth-oriented awareness-raising resources and campaigns that address topics such as cyber bullying. Webwise is part of the PDST Technology in Education, which promotes and supports the integration of ICT in teaching and learning in first and second level schools across Ireland.
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The Irish Safer Internet Centre (SIC) has two helplines. Childline, run by the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC), provides services where children affected by issues encountered on the internet and other issues such as bullying and sexuality may turn for advice and guidance on a 24/7 basis. The National Parents Council Primary (NPC) bullying helpline, is run by a nationwide organisation representing the parents of children attending early and primary education.
Childline, established in 1988, is a service for children up to the age of 18. Childline provides a 24-hour listening service which empowers children using the mediums of telecommunications and information technology. Childline's phone service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Childline's One to One live chat service and Teentxt service are available from 10.00-16.00 daily. Young people can contact the One to One live chat service by logging on to www.childline.ie.
The NPC was established in 1985. The NPC Helpline is a national confidential service for parents, in existence since 1998. The Bullying Helpline is an extension of the existing NPC Helpline. It is aimed mainly at parents and other adults and operates Monday to Tuesday from 10.00-16.00 and Wednesday to Friday from 10.00-17.00. The majority of the requests for help relate to bullying by other children. Enquiries received on cyberbullying are either by text message or via Facebook, and concern threats and other harmful comments.
Alternative Helpline website: www.npc.ie
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The Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland (ISPAI) provides an anonymous reporting service - Hotline.ie - to members of the public who accidentally uncover illegal content on the internet, particularly online child sexual abuse material (CSAM), referred to in Irish legislation as child pornography. To view other types of illegal content that should be reported to Hotline.ie please seewww.hotline.ie/contact-us/what-you-can-report/.
Tackling the issue of online illegal content requires a national and international multi-stakeholder approach. Nevertheless, the rate of success depends primarily on the vigilance of the public and their readiness to report suspected illegal content. If the Irish public encounter suspected illegal content, and do not report it, neither the Industry nor Law Enforcement would know about it and would not be in a position to act against it.
To ensure international reach and fast response to CSAM hosted outside Irish jurisdiction, ISPAI is one of the founding members of the International Association of Internet Hotlines (INHOPE), which has grown over the years to a network of 51 Internet Hotlines in 45 countries worldwide.
Read more about the work of ISPAI in its latest Annual Report.
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The Webwise Youth Advisory Panel is made up of 35 teenagers from across Ireland. Together with the Webwise team, the youth panel helps to develop youth-oriented awareness-raising resources and campaigns that address topics such as cyberbullying. The youth panel is also involved in mentoring fellow students who participate in the Safer Internet Day Ambassador programme. This peer education programme helps to train young people to lead Safer Internet Day activities in their communities.
Safer Internet Day Ambassador Programme
For Safer Internet Day 2018, Webwise, in partnership with the Irish Second-Level Students Union (ISSU), ran a peer-led training programme involving over 80 teens from across Ireland. The SID Ambassador Programme was designed and led by Webwise Youth Panellists and ISSU members. It encourages and supports post-primary students to address the issue of cyberbullying and other areas in internet safety by leading awareness-raising campaigns in their clubs, schools, and communities. Webwise provided online (webinars) and offline training to the youth ambassadors to empower them to lead safer internet campaigns in their schools. The aim is to make Safer Internet Day a success in communities and schools across Ireland. 80 teens from across Ireland received training in Facebook HQ in January 2018 and went on to lead and run workshops and campaigns in their own schools and communities for Safer Internet Day 2018.
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More than 475 schools and groups organised events to mark Safer Internet Day 2018 in Ireland, with 100,000 people participating in these youth-led initiatives:
Be in Ctrl
For Safer Internet Day 2018, Webwise launched the Be In Ctrl resource. Be in Ctrl is a Junior Cycle SPHE educational resource addressing the issue of Online Sexual Coercion and Extortion. The resource includes information for school leaders, three lesson plans and is supported by the Garda School Programme. Teachers are free to adapt the resource depending on their class requirements. Over 3,000 copies of the resource have been distributed to date.
Lockers educational resource (including Forever video)
Lockers is a resource on the non-consensual sharing of intimate images. Since being launched in 2016, over 5,000 copies of the resource have been distributed. Intended for use with Junior Cycle SPHE classes, the education resource is supported by two newly-developed animations and six lesson plans. Lockers was developed to support schools as they address the issue of non-consensual sharing of intimate images (sometimes referred to as "revenge porn"), in the context of the SPHE class. The resource aims to foster empathy, respect and resilience and to help young people understand the consequences of their actions.
The Lockers resource is supported by the compelling Forever video which has been viewed online over 1 million times, received over 15,000 likes and has been shared more than 1,000 times since launching in 2016. The video highlights the potential consequences of non-consensual sharing of intimate images among teens.
Parents' Guide to a Better Internet
This guide gives parents support, advice and information to help their children have a positive experience online. Topics explored in the guide include cyberbullying, screen time, sexting, social media and online pornography. Since being launched in 2017, over 40,000 copies of the parent guide have been distributed.
Supporters of Safer Internet Centre Ireland include:
- Department of Education and Skills
- Department of Children and Youth Affairs
- Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Department of Justice and Equality
- Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland
- National Office for Suicide Prevention
- Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST).