UPC and Minister Fitzgerald launch online guide for kids, by kids

13 Feb 2014

Students Evan Bassett, Geadel Mande, Michela Juravle and Kira Lynch (centre) with Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald, TD and UPC Ireland CEO Magnus Ternsjö at the launch of 'The Web We Want'. Photo by Conor McCabe Photography

Ireland’s Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald, TD, joined students from Adamstown Community College, Co Dublin, to launch ‘The Web We Want’, a handbook written by youngsters for children ages 13-16 on safe web use.

The handbook has been developed by UPC and produced as part of an EU initiative in co-operation with the European Schoolnet. Meant to teach early teens about safe and responsible internet usage, The Web We Want includes lessons and exercises to test their skills and teach them about their rights in the online world.

Surrounded by technology

A recent report from the Net Children Go Mobile project revealed 40pc of children aged nine to 16 In Ireland have smartphones, and 35pc of those use their device to go online daily.

“Most children today are engaging in online activities,” said Fitzgerald. “The internet is being used for everything from staying in touch with friends through social networking sites to browsing through internet searches to help with homework. They’re surrounded by internet-enabled technologies, such as computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones, meaning that they can be connected almost anywhere at any time. So it makes sense to get children to think about their actions and to increase their awareness of safety and how their online activities affect themselves and others.”

Online well-being

“It’s often the case today that children are more educated to the features of the internet than their parents or teachers. However, while the internet has brought everyone immense benefits, what they often don’t consider are the potential dangers and effects of their actions. From unknowingly sharing sensitive account information to unwittingly downloading inappropriate content that maybe a friend recommended or shared, we need to be vigilant for the well-being of our children online,” said UPC Ireland CEO Magnus Ternsjö.

This week, Ireland marked Safer Internet Day, along with more than 100 countries, to promote the idea of a safer internet for all. School visits and online resources tackled topics such as cyberbullying, mental health and online risks, while Facebook launched its Family Safety Center to offer support and advice to anyone experiencing cyberbullying.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.