Our Year in Review: Highlights to Date 18/19
As we approach the end of another school year we take a look back at some of the important work and events that we have participated in over the last 9 months.
2018/19 has been a very important year for internet safety, Webwise have engaged in various training programmes, awareness-raising activities, campaigns, events and resource development. Central to all of this work was the involvement of all our stakeholders and partners throughout the year. Here is a quick look at some of our highlights to date! Thanks to everyone for supporting the work we do.
Action Plan for Online Safety
In July 2018, the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was joined by a number of Government Ministers to launch the Government’s Action Plan for Online Safety. It’s the first plan of its kind in Ireland and was drawn up following engagement with a wide range of stakeholders, including at the Open Policy Debate held in March, and the recent report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs.
The actions contained in the plan cut across six Government Departments – underlying the range and breadth of the issues involved – Communications, Climate Action and Environment; Education and Skills; Justice and Equality; Children and Youth Affairs; Health and Business Enterprise and Innovation. The plan is based around 5 goals; Online Safety for All; Better Supports; Stronger Protections; Influencing Policy and Building Our Understanding.
Through this Action Plan the Government will work with stakeholders to implement actions, over an 18 month period, that are achievable and which will have the greatest impact on online safety for everyone in Ireland. Webwise continue to support the implementation and delivery of the Action Plan.
Created to compliment the Be in Ctrl teaching resource, this video depicts the stories of two teenagers subjected to online sexual coercion and extortion. The purpose of this video is to inform young people that this behaviour is a crime, raise awareness of how to protect themselves online, where to find help and support and to give them Ctrl!
While chatting to people they have only met online can appear as innocent fun to some young people, it can have serious consequences when the young person does not know for certain who they are talking and sharing personal information with. This video is a great way for parents to start a conversation with their teens about how they are using social media to communicate and form relationships.
The Be In Ctrl social media campaign launched in September 2018 and received over 1 million views within the first week of launching. The short film has also received three awards to date.
Webwise has developed a comprehensive internet safety talk for parents that can be delivered by school leaders and teachers. The Webwise Parents Presentations are designed to assist schools who wish to host parent internet safety evenings. The information included in the presentations covered key topics for parents including social media, screen time, cyber-bullying, image-sharing and features expert advice and support. Presentations are available for primary and post-primary schools and can be downloaded here.
Webwise Youth Hub
In September 2018, Webwise launched its Youth Hub; Watch Your Space.
Watch Your Space is a proactive and creative hub for young people. It is a place where young people can get advice on internet safety issues and become more involved in making the internet a better place for all users. Created in consultation and with the help of the Webwise Youth Advisory Panel. The Youth Hub features explainer videos created by the Webwise Youth Panel to help teens manage their online well-being.
Find out more about our youth leadership programmes and youth-centred events.
Living our Best Lives @Zeminar 2019
Webwise once again took to the main stage at Zeminar Youth Conference, an event that focuses on the mental and physical wellbeing of 15-20-year-olds. The one-hour talk, Living Our Best Lives: Managing Your Online Well-Being, was hosted by Stephen Byrne (RTÉ). Vlogger Beckie Brown delivered a keynote talk on managing your online well-being and shared her positive and negative experiences of living life online. Stephen Byrne hosted a guest panel discussion where Beckie joined Tech Correspondent Jess Kelly to discuss ways young people can manage the ups and downs of life online. Jess stated that having a website like Webwise, that provides reliable talking points and practical advice was so important for young people today. “…it does come down to building resilience and just knowing what to do and where to turn if something goes wrong.” Finally the Webwise Youth Panel shared their experiences of running online safety initiatives in their own schools and getting involved in Safer Internet Day.
Safer Internet Day Ambassador Programme
Young people from all over Ireland came together on the 10th of January to take part in the annual Webwise Safer Internet Day Ambassador Programme in Google Headquarters in Dublin. Over 130 second-level students signed up to become Safer Internet Day Ambassadors, promoting online safety in their schools, clubs, and communities. The peer-led initiative by Webwise Ireland has been running for the last five years and has proved hugely successful in promoting internet safety in schools around Ireland. The students involved in the programme got involved because they wanted to tackle online safety issues with their peers and help make the internet a better place for young people. It is vitally important that young people feel empowered to act on issues such as cyberbullying, fake news, photo-sharing, and to promote healthy practices among their peers. Many of the students feel that they are a generation that uses the internet the most and they would like the tools to help others when they run into difficulty. The Safer Internet Day Ambassador Programme is a great way to meet like-minded teenagers, discuss issues and come up with solutions. Each SID Ambassador has committed to leading an internet safety campaign in their school for Safer Internet Day.
NAPD Google Online Safety Symposium
In January 2019, Webwise participated in the NAPD Google Online Safety Symposium hosted in Google HQ. The event was attended by school leaders and educators from across Ireland and highlighted some of the valuable resources and tools that can help integrate digital citizenship and on-line safety in the classroom. Webwise wrapped up the event with an overview of our supports, resources and information on how schools can get involved in Safer Internet Day.
Safer Internet Day 2019
Across Ireland, Safer Internet Day has attracted more participants than ever before. This year, almost 145,000 people signed up to the Safer Internet Day in Ireland, highlighting what they were doing to celebrate Safer Internet Day. School, students, parents, teachers and many organisations showed their support by hosting events, workshops, debates, Garda talks, online safety lessons, running campaigns, competitions and much more! Here’s a taster of just some of the wonderful events and activities that took place for Safer Internet Day this year.
HTML Heroes Introduce Online Safety to Students
HTML Heroes introduces 3rd and 4th class pupils to the internet with the help of two USB characters (Archie and Ruby) who come to life when the classroom empties at break-time and perform catchy internet safety raps. The animations and supporting lessons were launched as part of Webwise’s work to raise awareness of Safer Internet Day, Tuesday, 5th February 2019 and to promote the importance of online safety with parents, teachers and young people.
The resource supports primary school teachers and young people as they learn about safe and responsible use of the internet.
The HTML Heroes Programme comprises of eight lessons and three specially designed animations for use in the classroom. The resource introduces students to the internet, explains how it works and addresses key online safety topics including privacy, cyberbullying and evaluating information online. The resource also addresses growing concerns about technology and the use of devices such as screen time, online gaming, online advertising and social media.
Media Literacy Award
Webwise’s newest education programme; HTML Heroes: An introduction to the internet has received a European Media Literacy Award at a high level European Media Literacy Conference in Brussels in March 2019. Webwise were awarded for most educative media literacy project for the HTML Heroes Programme, the award was presented by Giuseppe Abbamonte, Director for Media Policy at DG Connect. Almost 130 Projects from European countries applied for the awards. The projects were evaluated by a jury of experts, who selected the finalists and the three winners. Ten projects had been selected as finalists for the Media literacy Awards. The projects varied from teaching digital skills to bridging and filling the gaps in journalism. All shortlisted projects were invited to pitch to the judging panel at the European Media Literacy week flagship event in Brussels.
Be Media Smart Campaign
In March 2019 Webwise were delighted to support and participate in a National Media Literacy Awareness Campaign; Be Media Smart. The new public awareness campaign launched to coincide with European Media Literacy encourages people of all ages to Stop, Think, and Check that information they see, read or hear across any media platform is reliable.
The ‘Be Media Smart’ campaign was designed to help people identify sources of information that may be unreliable, as well as deliberately false or misleading information. It will enhance people’s understanding of, and engagement with media, while also empowering them with the skills to evaluate content across all platforms. ‘Be Media Smart’ is an initiative of Media Literacy Ireland (MLI), a network of volunteer members working together to empower people to make informed media choices about the media content and services that they consume, create, and disseminate across all platforms.
Safer Internet Day Awards 2019
Webwise held its first ever Safer Internet Day Awards Ceremony in March 2019. Over 200 students from across 15 schools in Ireland were awarded for their online safety initiatives at an exclusive awards ceremony in Microsoft DreamSpace.
Inspired by the work being done in schools around Ireland on internet safety, Webwise – internet safety initiative of the PDST hosted the first ever Safer Internet Day Awards to recognise the range of different events and positive actions taking place to promote internet safety. These awards, designed to celebrate the work done by students, teachers and schools to raise awareness about online safety issues while also promoting healthy and creative uses of technology. Open to all schools in Ireland; categories in the competition included best use of technology, best campaign, best use of social media and more.
The winning schools and students received their awards and an exclusive gig with popular Irish band; Chasing Abbey hosted in Microsoft’s DreamSpace venue in March 2019.
This year’s entries dealt with a wide range of topics. These efforts were peer-led with young people tackling issues that are important to them. There were emerging themes such as device-free campaigns, misinformation, media literacy, respectful communication, image-sharing and how to manage online well-being. Joining Webwise today will be the winners of this years ten categories.
Webwise Youth Advisory Panel
BIK Youth Panel and Safer Internet 4EU Awards
Webwise Youth Panelist Lorcan Tuohy represented Ireland on the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) European Youth Panel. Being a BIK European Youth Panelists meant Lorcan took part in online meetings with his European counterparts to discuss positive actions the Youth Panel could undertake to promote safer use of the internet by young people. As a BIK Youth Panelist Lorcan was invited to take part in the Safer Internet Forum in Brussels. During this, the BIK Youth Panelists led a workshop on areas such as: GDPR and Children’s Rights, Copyright, Fake News, Online Safety and the Impact of Digital Devices.
Lorcan also attended the Safer Internet Forum in Brussels as a finalist in the Safer Internet 4EU Awards. Lorcan’s entry was an online digital pledge he created to raise awareness of how we can all take responsibility for our online behaviour and how we can use the internet in a safe and ethical way.
You can read all about Lorcan’s experience of the Safer Internet Forum in Brussels here.
Webwise Youth Panelists win Garda National Youth Awards
Congratulations to our Youth Panelists, Erin Barrett and Sarah McDarby, from Ard Scoil Mhuire in Limerick who won a Garda National Youth Award for their #KeepitPG campaign on raising awareness and campaigning for changes to Irish sexting laws.
Webwise Youth Panelists joins experts during the panel discussion at the World Anti-Bullying Forum
Dublin City University was home to the largest ever gathering of experts, educators, parents and policy-makers to discuss and share ideas on the best possible methods to tackle bullying, cyberbullying and online safety at the World Anti-Bullying Forum 2019. Webwise Youth Panelist Eiman Elsir was invited to join a panel of experts to discuss starting a national conversation on healthy online behaviour for children and parents. Representing the youth voice, Eiman concluded the panel discussion with a plea to ‘listen to our voices and opinions, we’re equally as passionate as they are and should be taken seriously.’
Webwise distributed free HTML Heroes Packs to all Primary Schools in Ireland following the launch of the new education programme. Primary schools received free information on the new resource, an info and activity sheet booklet and free USB key with supporting animations and a copy of the Webwise Parents Internet Safety talks for schools who wish to host a parents evening. Alongside the launch of the new resource, social media campaign and Safer Internet Day Ambassador Programme, Webwise also created resources and activities, in both English and Irish, for schools and organisations around Ireland. Webwise also sent out free wristbands to 140,000 people who were participating in Safer Internet Day. Over 500 schools and organisations were featured on the Safer Internet Day event map, which detailed their plans for SID 2019.
Webwise saw an increase of almost 40,000 young people getting involved in Safer Internet Day. Orders for resources and wristbands began in October, with wristbands running out of stock by the end of January due to unprecedented demand. Almost 1,200 young people entered the Safer Internet Day Awards competition in 2019, the highest number ever.
The Be In Ctrl film reached over one million views since its launch in September 2018.
From July 2018 to June 2019 there was an increase of 43% in Page Views on the Webwise website compared to the previous year. While, on Safer Internet Day there was a 33% increase on last year’s visits to the website.
Over the last year Webwise distributed over 11, 000 resources to schools and organisations around Ireland including over almost 4,000 copies of the Be In Ctrl and Lockers resource.
Additional resources have been distributed at events and information evenings across the country, to schools given by our colleagues in the Digital Technologies Team and to partnering organisations such as An Garda Síochána, Tusla and the HSE.
We would like to say a massive thank you to all the schools, teachers, industry partners, students, parents, and colleagues for their continuous support during the year. We look forward to working with you all in the new academic year.
We are already thinking of projects and plans for the coming year and will have lots of exciting opportunities for students, parents, and teachers to get involved. We hope to make Safer Internet Day 2020 bigger and better than ever before and hope we can continue to grow internet safety awareness in schools and organisations around Ireland.