Our Year in Review: Highlights to Date 17/18

Our Year in Review: Highlights to Date 17/18

Webwise 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.

2017/18 has been a very important year for internet safety, Webwise have engaged in various training programmes, awareness-raising activities, research, 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.




In October, 2017, Webwise had the pleasure of hosting a one-hour internet safety panel discussion at Zeminar Youth Conference. Zeminar is an event that focuses on the mental and physical wellbeing of 15-20-year-olds. Members of the Webwise Youth Panel and ISSU (Irish Secondary Students’ Union) addressed important online issues that affect teens such as: online exploitation, peer-led anti-bullying campaigns and non-consensual sharing of explicit images. Luke Culhane, a Limerick teen, also joined the panel. Luke created a powerful anti-bullying campaign and video called Create No Hate which has been viewed over 15 million views. Luke shared his experience of creating a powerful message that resonated with young people around the world.

NAPD Google Online Safety Symposium

In January 2018, 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.

PDST Awareness Raising Seminars

PDST Technology in Education provided a a series of seminars around the country for both primary and post-primary school principals. The seminars took place between March through until the end of May. The seminars gave schools leaders an overview of the Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020, and in particular its vision for the embedding of digital technologies in learning.

The seminars also showcased the suite of supports provided by the PDST TiE and PDST Digital technologies teams. Both Webwise Ireland and Scoilnet spoke at each event highlighting key educational resources that they have available for schools and teachers. Webwise hosted a dedicated session for school leaders focusing on addressing internet safety in schools. The session included information for school leaders on policy development, free resources for teachers, pupils and parents.


Safer Internet Day 2018


To mark Safer Internet Day 2018, Tuesday 6th February 2018, Webwise, the Internet Safety Initiative of the Professional Development Service For Teachers (PDST), launched an educational resource, Be in Ctrl’. Produced in partnership with An Garda Síochána, the ‘Be In Ctrl’ teaching resource has been developed to support teachers as they address the topic of online sexual coercion and extortion – often referred to as ‘webcam blackmail’.

The launch of Be in Ctrl took place in Croke Park and was opened by Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton. Jess Kelly, presenter on Newstalk was the MC for the event and facilitated a young panel discussion made up of SID Ambassadors, members of the ISSU and the Webwise Youth Advisory Panel. 

Director of the PDST, Ciara O’Donnell spoke about the resource in terms of education and support for teachers. Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll detailed the work being done by An Garda Síochána, particularly Operation Ketch, to protect young children and teens from being exploited online. Chief Superintendent Collette Quinn from the National Bureau of Garda Community urged young people to seek help from An Garda Síochána and spoke about the development of the Garda Schools Programme. DS Mike Symth gave a preview of the first lesson in the resource which can be given by an member of the Garda Schools Programme. Webwise hosted a live discussion at the SID launch event with five Webwise Youth Panellists. The youth panel showcased their campaign video before conducted their discussion. The Panellists gave their view on online safety issues and detailed their experience of working as Safer Internet Day Ambassadors.


Safer Internet Day was featured by the press, both locally and nationally. The launch at Croke Park was featured on News on RTE and by TV3 News. One Webwise Youth Panel member acted as a media representative on the day in his school and provided interviews to TV, Press and radio, detailing the views of young people with regard to internet safety. The new educational resource ‘Be in Ctrl’ had a full page feature in the Education section of the Irish Times. As part of the Safer Internet Day campaign, Webwise also ran a Safer Internet Day photo competition, with the grand prize being an exclusive gig for the winners school with X Factor Contestants Sean and Conor Price. The runner up prize was a drone. The competition closed on the 28th of February, with the winners announced in early March. Webwise also created a video montage of just some of the Safer Internet Day events that took place around Ireland.


Digital Schools Champion

Our Year in Review

Webwise also participated in the Schools Digital Champion Programme, hosting an information stand during the event and giving a talk on internet safety with the help of the Webwise Youth Panel.

The aim of the programme is to develop the use of technology in teaching and learning in schools around Ireland. This is a Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment and Department of Education & Skills initiative, which is supported by the RTE digital division.

The School Digital Champion Programme is a fantastic opportunity for secondary school students to showcase their digital skills through a project of their choice.


Templemore Garda Training


The Webwise team provided initial training on the new resource Be in Ctrl to almost 200 Community Policing Gardai and the members of the Garda Schools Programme. The information session also included background and research to the topic by Garda Mary T McCormick of the Online Child Exploitation Unit (ONCE).

The Webwise team delivered lesson one of the Be in Ctrl Garda resource pack and also detailed the best practices for teaching the resource in schools. Gardai were also made of the other supports that Webwise offers to teachers and parents. Webwise also distributed 500 copies of the Be in Ctrl Information for Gardaí booklets to members of the Garda Schools Programme. To organise a talk with a Garda in your school, please contact the Garda Schools Programme.


ISSU Annual Assembly

Webwise also engaged in awareness raising at the Irish Second Level Students Union’s Annual Assembly 2018 at Liberty Hall. Webwise has a longstanding relationship with the ISSU and collaborate on projects where possible. The event celebrated ten years if the ISSU through a series of talks, discusssion sessions and small group sessions.

Members of the ISSU presented on the work they had done with Webwise as part of the Safer Internet Day 2018 campaign, and their work training the Safer Internet Day Ambassadors. Webwise has a longstanding relationship with the ISSU and collaborate on projects where possible. Many youth panelists are also members of the ISSU.


Webwise Youth Advisory Panel


Our current Youth Panel members took part in their first campaign for Safer Internet Day. The Youth Panel was joined by our Safer Internet Day Ambassadors at Facebook HQ to learn all about creating an internet safety campaign in their schools. The day was a lot of fun and really productive. Read all about their experiences of the Training Day from some of our leaders: SID Training Day at Facebook HQ. The SID Ambassadors and Youth Panelists went back to their schools and celebrated by creating some wonderful campaigns. As part of the Training day, the students helped to create a campaign video that was used for the launch of our new resource Be In Ctrl. The video is available to view here.

The second Youth Panel meeting took place in Dublin on the 11th of April. The Youth Panellists did a round up of the events they had created for Safer Internet Day 2018, shared their experiences of the campaign and also discussed the events that they had attended as Webwise Panellists. The session also included a discussion on possible events and ideas to cover in the next campaign and some icebreakers that could be used in schools and youth groups to promote teamwork.

The Webwise team also took them through some guidelines for creating content for Webwise and a call for more youth-led submissions. During the youth panel meeting, Ireland AM interviewed the panellists on their motivations for joining the programme and why internet safety should be a priority for teens. The piece aired on TV3 in June 2018 on a parents feature of Ireland AM. Project Officer for Webwise, Jane McGarrigle also spoke to about the supports available for parents who want to keep up to date with technology and their children. 


Dublin Comhairle na n’Og

Webwise ran an internet safety workshop, highlighting both the Lockers and Be in Ctrl resources. These resources are particularly relevant for teens as they address the issues of sexting and online exploitation.

The workshop consisted of some ice-breaker games and a brief introduction to both topics using excerpts from the resources. There was also a healthy discussion of the topic where students explored more about what they had learned and how they could educate their peers in order to keep themselves safe online.


Ballymun Youthreach

Webwise was also able to provide a workshop to the students of Ballymun Youthreach. The students watched the Say No! video and completed sections of the Be in Ctrl resource.

They also participated in a discussion about the legalities of sexting and watched the Forever video. The students were interested to know the laws about sexting and worked in pairs to consolidate their knowledge using an exercise from the Lockers resource.


EMEA Online Safety Summit

The EMEA Child Safety Summit was a two-venue event that took place on the April 18th and 19th. The event was hosted by both Facebook and Google in their respective Headquarters in Dublin. Members of the Webwise Youth Panel were invited to represent the student voice on a panel discussion on Day 2 which focused on children’s rights online.


The panel discussion was chaired by Professor Brian O’ Neill, Director of Research in DIT, Children’s Rights advocate Patrick Geary represented UNICEF, Jutta Croll, Chairperson of Children’s Rights Digital in German was also in attendance. YouTuber Hannah Witton, gave her experience of being an online creator alongside John Carr who represented the UK Children’s Charities Coalition on Internet Safety. Webwise Youth Panelists Lorcan Tuohy, of Borrisokane Community College, Tipperary and Muireann Whelan of Newbridge College, Kildare spoke from a child’s perspective on the topic and gave input into their concerns and considerations on their rights in the digital world.

The panel discussion explored the rights of the child online using the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and offered a balanced and fruitful discussion on the topic.

The panelists also got a chance to experience advances in Virtual Reality at the summit which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. To read more about the day, read Youth Panelist, Lorcan’s account of the day here.

SID Ambassador Programme

On the 10th of January 2018, Webwise organised a training day for the Safer Internet Day (SID) Ambassador Programme. This was the culmination of months of work, recruiting students, sorting through applications and conducting online webinars. The training day, held in Facebook HQ, was the first face-to-face meeting where over 80 students gathering together to train to be Safer Internet Day Ambassadors.

The SID Ambassador programme gives post-primary students the tools to lead their own awareness-raising campaigns in schools, clubs, and communities across Ireland. The SID Ambassador Programme is focused on giving young people a voice, Webwise wanted to create a series of activities that would resonate with young people. Read more about the day here.


Webwise has a longstanding relationship with the Irish Secondary Schools Students’ Union (ISSU), and with their help, were able to create a peer-led programme full of thought-provoking and engaging activities on online safety.

These activities were delivered to the SID Ambassadors at the training providing students with ideas and information they could use to make Safer Internet Day a success in their schools. The SID ambassadors made a video on how other Irish teens could #BeInCtrl of their online lives. This video was part of the Webwise social media campaign for Safer Internet Day and is available to view here.

Open Policy Debate


On the 8th of March, Webwise participated in the Open Policy Debate on Online Safety, organised by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, TD. The Government’s Open Policy Debate was held at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, in Dublin, with An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, officially opening the event.

More than 100 delegates and speakers working across industry, non-profit organisations, government and the EU participated in the event, promoting discussion on how best to tackle online safety in Ireland.  

Members of the Webwise Advisory Youth Panel were invited to participate in the panel discussion, representing the voice of the youth on this topical issue. Cillian Fogerty of Tullamore Community College, Síofra Harkin of Crana College both took to the stage and spoke confidently about their experiences of the internet on both panels.

The debate also facilitated breakout table discussion sessions where key relevant stakeholders including the online platforms, the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC), Webwise, parents’ groups, academia, Webwise Youth Panelists and other young people, along with other key groups were about to discuss issues in more depth in an open and conductive environment. The aim of the event was to raise awareness of the issues going forward and to gather feedback which will, in turn, inform future action plans and policies created by the government.


The European Institute for Gender Equality also asked members of the Webwise Youth Advisory Panel to participate in research on how boys and girls use the internet and digital technologies. The research was carried out by Director of Research, Enterprise and Innovation Services at Dublin Institute of Technology, Brian O’Neill and his associate Thug Dinh. The overall objective of the research is to establish how young people can get the most of opportunities brought by the internet and digital technologies, and how best to avoid risks.

Focus groups were arranged with 6-8 participants, aged 15-18 years. As this was a research project that focused on the differences between sexes, male and female focus groups occurred separately. The 90 minute discussion session focused on opportunities brought about by the internet and social media, such as meeting friends and the possible ways of sharing your life experiences. It also examined negative online experiences, such as aggressive or harmful behaviour inappropriate content and hate speech. Responses to the research questions were given anonymously. The European Institute for Gender Equality will publish a report about the results of the project by the end of 2018.

Be in Ctrl Competition Concert


The winners of the Be in Ctrl Photo Competition were announced as Ardscoil Mhuire in Corbally, Limerick. On Friday, the 23rd of March, Sean and Conor Price performed an exclusive gig for the 600 students in the  all girls school.

There was a fantastic welcome for the duo, who rose to fame on X Factor 2017. The prize also included a meet and greet with the singers for the organisers of Ardscoil Mhuires’ Safer Internet Day organisers. Abi Dowling, a Webwise SID Ambassador, and her tea, had created a week-long event that incorporated a TY YSI project called #KeepitPG. The campaign has since gone on to win at the YSI Awards! Read more about their project here. The students created a range of fantastic artwork, games, competitions, and activities to raise awareness of online safety with the whole school. Head to our social media channels to watch highlights of the concert; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

InSafe Training Conference

Webwise attended the Insafe Training Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark from the 6th-8th of June. As part of the wider InSafe Network, Webwise engaged in training workshops and working group sessions on a broad range of internet safety topics.

Collaborating with our European colleagues allows valuable information sharing opportunities.

Working with Law Enforcement

Webwise work closely with members of An Garda Síochána to share information and also provide training. In the last year Webwise have hosted training workshops for Community Gardaí in the Wicklow/Greystones area and in the Dublin North Central area.

In addition Webwise also attended the 2017 Juvenille Liaison Officer conference where we distributed resources to JLO’s and Community Guards.


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 102,000 people who were participating in Safer Internet Day.

Over 475 schools and organisations were featured on the Safer Internet Day event map, which detailed their plans for SID 2018. View the map here.

Webwise saw an increase of over 30,000 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. 

Resource Distribution


Resource orders have been at an all time high. Over the past academic year Webwise has distributed over 40,000 resources to schools and organisations around Ireland including over 3,000 copies of Be In Ctrl and almost 4,000 copies of the 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 Tusla and the HSE.

Website Visits

Safer Internet Day 2018 saw a 59% increase in visits to Webwise.ie compared with SID last year. The Irish official SID website, saferinternetday.ie also saw its highest level of users, and 18% increase on last years Safer Internet Day figures.

Safer Internet Day saw an increase of 2000 followers on social media, with Webwise videos being viewed in excess of 245,632 times during the same period. Downloads for Webwise resources reached an all time high, with 32,309 worksheets and activities being downloaded over the period. 

Thank You

webwiseWe 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 2019 bigger and better than ever before and hope we can continue to grow internet safety awareness in schools and organisations around Ireland.

Talk to someone

Worried about something you have seen online or concerned about your child? Childline and the National Parents Council Primary offer free advice and support service.

Childline is a support service for young people up to the age of 18.There is a 24hr telephone, online and mobile phone texting service.

Get started

The National Parents Council Primary enables and empowers parents to be effective partners in their children’s education.

01 887 4477

Report Illegal Content

Sometimes you might unwittingly stumble across illegal online content like child abuse imagery. Always remember: you can report it and get it removed using Hotline.ie.

More on illegal content

Make a report

Hotline.ie exists to combat the distribution and proliferation of illegal content, like child sexual
abuse content, in conjunction with police and Internet Industry