Government appoints internet safety director

19 Feb 2008

The Government of Ireland has appointed a director to head up the new Office for Internet Safety (OIS), which will strive to make the internet a safer place.

The Minister for Justice Brian Lenihan TD has appointed John Laffan to the role and he will take up the position from the beginning of March.

Minister Lenihan also introduced a parents guide to social networking websites that was published by the Internet Advisory Board.

He urged parents to ensure their children enjoy technology wisely.

“Parents should get to grips with the new technology their children are using, so that they can learn with them and be aware of what their children are doing online. It is good and responsible parenthood, not prying, for parents to know what websites their children have visited, and if they are suitable or not,” Minister Lenihan said.

The new Office for Internet Safety will present proposals for an Internet Safety Advisory Council as the successor to the Internet Advisory Board.

The Council will be drawn from representatives of the key stakeholders in the statutory, industry and community sectors, and will support the work of the new Office.

“The challenge for the director will be to move quickly to develop programmes and policies designed to make the internet a safer place.

“The director will engage with all stakeholders, private sector and public authorities, with the simple message that our young people deserve the best possible protection against the risk of internet exploitation and crime.

“The OIS will build on the very successful co-operative relationship with the Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland, pioneered by the Internet Advisory Board, which champions the model of self-regulation through adherence to a strong code of practice and ethics,” Minister Lenihan said.

By John Kennedy