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Close this search box. extends support to Barnardos to help make the internet safer for children provides $1m to drive digital literacy training in schools around Ireland

5th March 2024:, the philanthropic arm of Google, has announced that it is extending its support to children’s charity Barnardos by providing an additional $1 million of grant funding to promote safe internet use for children and teens across Ireland.

The announcement follows the success of the initial Online Safety Programme launched by Barnardos in 2019 with €1 million in grant funding from Over the past five years, more than 3,000 workshops in 700 schools across Ireland have reached over 90,000 students, and delivered over 2,000 parent workshops on online safety nationwide.

The new grant will enable Barnardos to extend the programme to children aged between 10 and 15 and will address new areas including AI. The new programme will also see Barnardos working in collaboration for the first time to help shape the programme with Webwise, leading online safety organisation and Media Literacy Ireland, Ireland’s media literacy network.

Speaking at the launch, Mindy Brooks, Senior Director, General Manager for Kids and Families, Google said: “The internet is laden with opportunity and promise for young people, but education on how to confidently and safely explore the online world is crucial. Our work with Barnardos has been incredibly impactful across primary schools in Ireland. It’s important that we continue to collaborate to develop the correct tools and trainings for both young people and their parents to ensure ongoing education. This new grant from empowers Barnardos to not only reach more young people but also to roll out innovative solutions to emerging issues.”

Suzanne Connolly, CEO, Barnardos said : “Over the last five years we have seen high levels of engagement with our Online Safety Programme supported by The workshops have been very well received with 85% of children stating they found the workshops useful and 98% of teachers stating they would recommend the programme to other schools. This new grant allows us to extend both the reach and scope of the Online Safety Programme. We are especially excited by the collaboration with Media Literacy Ireland and Webwise, which will allow for a first of its kind co-creation of materials between different organisations.”

 With this grant Barnardos plans to expand its current Online Safety Programme to include:

  • Collaboration with Webwise and Media Literacy Ireland in the design and delivery of its Online Safety Programme
  • Development of a virtual programme for delivery online to significantly increase the scale and reach of the programme
  • Adapting the existing Online Safety Programme for an older audience and deliver within secondary schools for students in 1st to 3rd year
  • Adapting the programme for use in youth and community settings as well as schools
  • Designing a Crisis Incident Response to provide advice and practical support to schools where a significant incident of online bullying or abuse has occurred
  • Organising conferences on topics of interest and engage in research to further the charity’s understanding of issues surrounding online safety and digital literacy

The grant was announced today at the Google “Growing Up in the Digital Age” Summit, which convened experts from industry, academia, government and civil society to discuss how young people can be protected, respected and empowered online. The summit was hosted by the Google Safety Engineering Center (GSEC) in Dublin.

The Online Safety programme will be rolled out in secondary schools from September 2024 to complement our ongoing work in primary schools. A virtual programme will be rolled out in 2025. Schools can contact [email protected] for more information or to enquire about booking a workshop for their school.

Notes for Editors:
About Media Literacy Ireland:
Media Literacy Ireland is an informal alliance of organisations and individuals who are working together on a voluntary basis to promote media literacy in Ireland. Facilitated by Coimisiún na Meán, as part of its commitment to promoting media literacy, MLI brings together a wide range of members from sectors such as the media, academia, online platforms, libraries and civil society.

About Barnardos

Barnardos’ mission is to deliver services and work with families, communities, and our partners to transform the lives of vulnerable children who are affected by adverse childhood experiences. Because childhood lasts a lifetime  

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