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Online Safety should be key part of Primary School Curriculum

Dublin, 22 September 2020 – A recent survey on online safety by Barnardos, found that 97% of parents think online safety should be a compulsory part of the school curriculum, with over half of respondents saying that this learning should start as early as Junior Infants.

The survey was undertaken as part of the Barnardos Online Safety Programme to help inform its work with children, parents and teachers. This September marks completion of the first year of a four year partnership between and Barnardos, and also the start of a new digital offering of the programme to schools around the country.

The survey also highlights the key concerns of children, teachers and parents in relation to online safety. The top two concerns cited by children and young people were fear that an embarrassing picture would be shared on social media (40%); and receipt of mean messages or being excluded from groups by friends (37%) as being their top two concerns.

A lot of things are organized over text, like meet ups and activities. It is hard to ask your friends, “am I being excluded from a group chat” without them thinking you are clingy or intrusive.

Female survey respondent 13-15 yrs

Teachers cited their top concerns as excessive screen time resulting in tiredness that impacts children’s schooling, playing inappropriate games and cyberbullying. Parents’ main concerns were cyberbullying, accessing inappropriate materials and their children speaking to strangers.

Online Safety Programme Training Executive Cliodhna Purdue says: “The concerns highlighted across the survey varied from each group, but the one defining factor was that everyone agreed that more online safety workshops are required by children and young people today. In fact, young people also said they would like their parents to understand their online world more so their parents could better support them online.”

The Barnardos Online Safety Programme addresses these issues through engaging, interactive workshops for both primary (3rd – 6th class) and secondary (1st – 2nd year) students. The Programme can be delivered face to face and is supported by a panel of 28 trainers nationwide or, if face-to-face workshops are not viable, there is an option of a new digital offering. This programme includes virtual online safety workshops for students, video lessons for teachers to help with blended learning, and live webinars for parents from October. The programme is complemented by the Google Be Internet Legends Programme which is used as a wrap-around resources for the workshops.

Ryan Meade, Public Policy Manager, Google Ireland said: “This Barnardos research shows a growing awareness across parents, teachers and students of the need to focus on online safety in both the classroom and at home. We recognize our responsibility as a company to ensure that the internet is accessible and used in a positive way and our partnership with Barnardos will bring online safety training to over 75,000 children across Ireland. By supporting the Barnardos Online Safety Programme and creating Be Internet Legends, we want to help make the internet a safer place for young people in Ireland.”

In its pilot year, Barnardos were on track to deliver online safety workshops to 103 schools and hopes to double this in year two, with a special focus on digital wellbeing.

For more information on the Online Safety Programme (OSP) or to see how your school can book, please see or email [email protected]


Note to editor:

About the Survey –

The Online Safety Survey took place in June 2020, and had over 400 respondents.
For a full report on the survey, please click here

For a quick and easy to navigate infographic with highlight results, please click:
Teacher’s Survey
Children and Young Person’s Survey
Parent’s Survey

Learn more about Barnardos Online Safety Programme:

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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