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Barnardos welcomes the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs' report on cyber security for children and young people. Measures such as the appointment of a Digital Safety Commissioner and upholding a child's right to be forgotten online are key parts of a wider Government strategy needed to protect children online.
June Tinsley, Head of Advocacy, Barnardos said: "The online world offers plenty of opportunities for children in terms of access to resources, information and games but there are dangers too and for too long the internet has remained unregulated. We welcome the Oireachtas Committee's report and the sooner its recommendations are implemented the better. Barnardos is fully supportive of the office of Digital Safety Commissioner to be set up so we are pleased to see this as one of the Committee's key recommendations."
"Barnardos provides educational workshops on cyberbullying and online safety to thousands of parents and children throughout the country each year. We welcome the inclusion of a host of recommendations which seek to educate both children and parents about digital safety in the report; however social and emotional learning is also pivotal to ensuring children have the social skills and emotional understanding to best deal with challenging situations both on and off line. Teaching young people to treat others kindly, creating open communication between parents and their children and promoting social responsibility are important skills for everyday life which are also valuable for children online."
June Tinsley, Head of Advocacy, Barnardos concluded: "The key message is children and young people should not be held wholly responsible for safeguarding themselves from bullying or abuse online and there is only so much parents can do. Social media and online corporations who profit from young people's use of their platforms play a crucial role too and must do all they can to protect their young users. Unfortunately the response from the industry has been frustratingly lacklustre focusing on age verification methods which are proven not to work so it's up to the Government to regulate online companies to make sure children and young people are protected."