Webwise is a very valued resource for children, teens, teachers and parents alike all across Ireland in relation to safe internet usage, resources and advice. Webwise has a number of useful free resources for parents and teachers in Ireland. These resources include the "#Up2Us Anti-Bullying Pack" and "Lockers" which both focus on different aspects of internet safety and provide useful lessons and advice for adults wanting to educate and speak to children about cyber-related issues. I have even ordered all of these packs for teachers in my school to use for our Safer Internet Day celebrations.
Safer Internet Day 2018 was celebrated on 6 February 2018. SID is an EU-wide initiative to celebrate and promote awareness about internet safety.
Webwise have been working tirelessly for the last few months on their latest resource - "Be In Ctrl" which is a new resource aimed at Junior Cycle Social Personal Health Education lessons mainly focusing on what is referred to as "webcam blackmail". Webcam blackmail refers to the sexual coercion and extortion that young people can, unfortunately, become involved in online. The main focus of the programme teaches children and teens more about the issue and more importantly how to stop and fix the problem should it arise. Many young people find it difficult to speak to their seniors, and parents in particular, when it comes to online behaviour and the situations they may find themselves in. Recent research has revealed that 1 in 3 children in Ireland will not speak to their parents about their lives online and that they have people on contact lists that they do not know in real life.
To get to the resource launch, myself and my chemistry teacher, who kindly offered to travel with me, got on the bus early at around 7.45am. This meant that we arrived in Dublin at roughly 12.20pm so we went and had some lunch before heading across to Croke Park for 2pm.
When the time arrived, we made our way over to the stadium. The event was being held in the "All-Star Suite" which was an extremely impressive location, to say the least! We received a warm welcome from all the lovely ladies from Webwise Ireland - Aideen, Tracy, and Jane.
Right away I met up with some of the other teenagers I'd met at Facebook headquarters at our training day. We were asked outside to the stands of Croke Park pitch to have some photos taken, where we met Newstalk's very own Jess Kelly!
The presentation began at around 3.30pm where a number of guest speakers came up in turn to talk about the Be In Ctrl resource. The presentation was led by Jess Kelly and some of the guest speakers included TD Richard Bruton and members of the Irish Police, An Garda Síochana. After this, myself and four others who made up the youth panel for the day were invited to take a seat at the front of the room. From here, we all watched the #BeInCtrl video that we made at Facebook headquarters.
To finish off, Jess posed each one of us with a question based on our experiences with Webwise Ireland in the last few months and our personal views on internet safety.
I felt extremely honoured to have the chance to speak at this exclusive event and I am so thankful for all the opportunities Webwise has presented me with. I have made so many new friends through this experience and it is very rewarding knowing that the work we are doing will have a positive effect on people all over Ireland. I look forward to working with Webwise in the future and can't wait to continue the Safer Internet Day celebrations in my school over the coming weeks.