Safer Internet Day 2023 in Ireland: building respect and empathy online

This year marked the biggest ever Safer Internet Day in Ireland with almost 200,000 children and young people taking part in activities around the country to mark the occasion. Hundreds of events took place all over the country to celebrate #SID2023, and these are some of the highlights.

Date 2023-03-28 Author Irish Safer Internet Centre Section awareness, sid Topic cyberbullying, excessive use, hate speech, love, relationships, sexuality (online), media literacy/education Audience children and young people, media specialist, parents and carers, teachers, educators and professionals
Graphic design of the main theme for Safer Internet Day 2023 in Ireland: Building respect and empathy online.

The Irish Safer Internet Centre hosted a special Safer Internet Day event exploring the #SID2023 theme of building empathy and respect online.

The event was led by the Webwise Youth Advisory Panel members, together with other students, and gave young people the space to reflect and discuss respect and empathy online. We were also joined by the Ombudsman for Children, Dr. Niall Muldoon and colleagues from the DCU Anti-Bullying Centre who contributed to the discussions, and presented the key findings from a recent survey on bystander behaviour online, including the following: 

  • 45.3 per cent of teenagers surveyed report witnessing some kind of mistreatment online over the last months, with most of the mistreatment happening at the hands of strangers.
  • Among those who reported witnessing online mistreatment, 31.3 per cent said a stranger started the mistreatment and 25 per cent said other strangers joined in.
  • Of those surveyed, 22.9 per cent of participants who witnessed online mistreatment had used at least one kind of privacy or reporting tool to help others. 

Complementary interactive stakeholders’ discussions explored some of the opportunities and challenges as they relate to protecting, empowering, and respecting children and young people online while also looking to future priorities.

Collage of pictures taken on Safer Internet Day 2023 featuring young people giving a presentation and stating their opinions, and holding SID props.

This event also officially launched the Webwise #SilentWitness awareness campaign.

The #SilentWitness campaign

The #SilentWitness campaign explores the topic of online bullying and abuse. Developed in consultation with young people, incorporating the latest research, this campaign aims to spark conversations inside and outside the classroom, in homes, online and in the wider community.

The campaign comprises of three powerful short films which explore the nuances of online friendships, peer pressure, the notion of banter and the impact bullying can have on young people.

#SilentWitness campaign to report online bullying or abuse official cover featuring a young girl looking worried while holding a smartphone.

The #SilentWitness campaign on TikTok

High profile TikTokers Shanice Griffin and Mary-Claire Fitzpatrick made TikTok videos to raise awareness of the #SilentWitness campaign and key messages.

Screenshot of a tiktok video featuring a young gilr and her dog.

SID Ambassador Programme

140 students from schools across Ireland took part in this year’s Webwise SID Ambassador Programme. This year the training programme had a hybrid format with two online training session, and an in-person training day which took place in Google HQ in Dublin. The training day also featured a youth-led discussion about the opportunities and challenges of the online world, with special guests TikTok content creator Jacob Donegan and journalist Roe McDermott.

Collage of pictures taken on Safer Internet Day featuring SID ambassadors talking in panels and moderating activities.

Over the course of the training sessions the peer-led programme equipped students with the skills and knowledge to lead their own online safety campaigns in their schools and communities.

Group picture of all the participants - including young people, ambassadors, experts - of the Safer Internet Day 2023 activities in Ireland.

The young people led an incredible range of initiatives to raise awareness of the #SID2023 theme of promoting respect and empathy, and many other online safety and digital literacy topics including image-sharing and consent, big data, false information, and privacy.


For Safer Internet Day 2023, Webwise hosted #WebwiseParents, a series of online safety webinars for parents of younger children, and for parents of teens.

Supporting children online

Cover of the #WebwiseParents webinar on how to support children online.

For Safer Internet Day 2023 Webwise, the Irish internet safety awareness centre in partnership with the National Parents Council Primary, organised an online safety webinar for parents of young children. The webinar discussed the opportunities and risks for children online, offered practical advice to support parents and answered some frequently asked questions. The Apple team also provided a short explainer on parental controls and some key safety features.

Supporting teens online

Cover of the #WebwiseParents webinar on how to support teenagers online.

Webwise hosted a Talk, Listen, Learn online safety webinar for parents and guardians of teens.

The webinar explored the opportunities and risks for children online, offered practical advice to support parents, highlighted key resources and support tools and answered some frequently asked questions. The TikTok safety team also provided a short explainer on how TikTok works and some key safety features.

Safer Internet Day around Ireland

Hundreds of events in schools, clubs and organisations took place right across the country for Safer Internet Day.

Map of Ireland with pins indicating all SID-related activities for the day.

A huge amount hard work and creativity was involved in the events that took place around Ireland. Here are just some of the highlights:

  • Ballymakenny College, Co. Louth, made videos to show the impact of bullying online.
  • Coláiste na Carraig, Co. Donegal learned about the importance of respectful communications online. The Student Council organised The Nana Test, an internet themed scavenger hunt, and a poster competition to promote being safe online.
  • St. Joseph’s Girls NS Clonakilty, Co. Cork, invited a Garda to provide a talk on how to be kind online.
  • Ard Scoil Muire Limerick’s Safer Internet Day team prepared resources, activities, and information for all the school community to access through the website they built.

Visit the interactive SID events map to view what happened in your area, and to share your own plans to promote a safer and better internet on Safer Internet Day.

Safer Internet Day supporters in Ireland

More organisations than ever supported Safer Internet Day in Ireland.

Trend Micro announced the winners of their annual internet safety video competition What’s your story?; Microsoft Dream Space hosted a special event to celebrate Safer Internet Day, which included an exploration of a brand new world found within Minecraft Education; the Irish Film Institute, with the support of the BAI and Media Literacy Ireland, offered free films as part of a special media literacy bundle for schools; the Gaelic Players Association presented information, education and supports on social media usage at a GPA Rookie Camp among the many organisations who supported Safer Internet Day in Ireland, and encouraged people to join in the celebrations.

Find out more about Safer Internet Day in Ireland. Alternatively, find more information about the work of the Irish Safer Internet Centre, including their awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services – or find similar information for other Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.

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