Safer Internet Day in Ireland 2021
Thousands of people in Ireland participated in Safer Internet Day 2021. Although circumstances were different this year, students, schools and organisations adapted to the situation and organised virtual activities and events to engage in meaningful and vibrant celebrations to help create a safer and better internet for all, especially young people.
A wide range of events took place in Ireland to mark Safer Internet Day, and here are some of the highlights.
Commencement of Coco’s Law
Safer Internet Day on February 9th saw Minister of Justice, Helen McEntee, TD, sign the commencement order for the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill (Coco’s Law). Coco’s Law creates two new offences which criminalise the non-consensual distribution of intimate images:
· the first offence deals with the distribution or publication of intimate images without consent and with intent to cause harm. The penalties applicable can be an unlimited fine and/or 7 years imprisonment
· the second offence deals with the taking, distribution or publication of intimate images without consent even if there is no specific intent to cause harm. This offence will carry a maximum penalty of a €5,000 fine and/or 12 months imprisonment.
The updates also broadens the scope of the existing offence of harassment.
· There is also a third new offence that has been introduced under the 2020 Act which is also appropriate to note. S.4 of the Act creates an offence of “Distributing, publishing or sending threatening or grossly offensive communication”
· This offence will cover situations where the perpetrator distributes or publishes a threat or grossly offensive communications to the victim or about the victim and is likely to be used to address cyberbullying. It can cover once-off threatening or grossly offensive communications.
#BeKindOnline Webinar Series
To mark Safer Internet Day, the Irish Safer Internet Centre hosted the #BeKindOnline Webinar Series. This series offered free webinars for parents and teachers to empower healthier online behaviour in children and young people.
The webinar series was officially launched on Safer Internet Day by Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD, and was hosted online by the Department of Justice.
Chaired by Professor Brian O’Neill (member of the National Advisory Council for Online Safety) the Safer Internet Day launch also included a panel discussion with the Irish Safer Internet Centre partners, including Chief Executive of ISPCC Childline, John Church; CEO of the National Parents Council Primary, Áine Lynch; Project Officer of Webwise (PDST Technology in Education), Jane McGarrigle; and Chief Executive of Hotline.ie, Ana Niculesc.
Following the launch the series of evening webinars took place across the week.
Empowering students to build digital resilience and manage their online wellbeing
When: Thursday 11th February 7.30pm – 8.15pm
Guest Speakers: Jane McGarrigle and Tracy Hogan (Webwise)
Empowering Healthy Online Behaviour in Teenagers
When: Tuesday, 9th February 7.30pm-8.15pm
Guest Speaker: Dr Nicola Fox Hamilton, cyberpsychology researcher, member of the Cyberpsychology Research Group at the University of Wolverhampton and lectures in Cyberpsychology and Psychology in IADT, Dun Laoghaire.
Empowering Healthy Online Behaviour in Younger Children
When: Wednesday, 10th February 7.30pm-8.15pm
Guest Speaker: Mark Smyth, Consultant Clinical Psychologist
You can watch the recordings of the #BeKindOnline Webinar Series here.
The #BeKindOnline Webinar series was hosted by the Irish Safer Internet Centre (SIC).
The Irish SIC is a partnership of four leading organisations with a mission to make the Internet a better place for children and young people, under the coordination of Cybercrime, Department of Justice.
The programme partners include:
- Awareness and Education: Webwise (PDST Technology in Education)
- Helplines: ISPCC Childline and the National Parents Council Primary
- Hotline: Hotline.ie
Safer Internet Day Online Wellbeing Guest Panel Discussion
For Safer Internet Day Webwise broadcasted a short webinar for post-primary students reflecting on the role technology has played in our lives this year and to explore ways to help students manage their online wellbeing. The event provided an opportunity to hear about the experiences of figures from the world of entertainment, sport, cyberpsychology and the tech industry. Joining the discussion were 2FM’s; Eoghan McDermott, Cyberpsychologist; Dr Nicola Fox-Hamilton, Public Policy Lead for Kids and Families at Google; Dr Alicia Blum-Ross, All-Ireland winning Dublin Footballer Eamon Fennell. The discussion was hosted by Webwise Youth Advisory panel member Billie Constantinou.
The guest panel event marked the final webinar of the Webwise Safer Internet day Ambassador Youth Training Programme. In the weeks leading up to this event, 100 students from across Ireland have been engaged in an online peer led training programme. The aim of the training programme is to provide the students with the knowledge, skills and confidence to go back to their own schools/communities and lead an online safety campaign/initiative for Safer Internet Day on the 9th February 2021. This programme is also supported by 35 members of the Webwise Youth Advisory panel, who act as peer mentors to the Ambassadors over the course of the programme. This year the training programme focused on helping students managing their online wellbeing and the event allowed students to reflect on learnings over the course of the programme and hear from a range of different voices and experiences from entertainment, research, academic and sporting backgrounds
Schools Celebrate Safer Internet Day
Hundreds of primary and post-primary schools across Ireland ran activities and events to mark Safer Internet Day 2021. The wide-ranging initiatives included online wellbeing webinars, positivity campaigns for online image, motivational tips for distance learning, digital footprint lessons, online safety talks for parents, and workshops to address topics such as online harassment, privacy and image sharing.
- Presentation Secondary School, Waterford – We will hold a virtual coffee morning with teachers, Kahoot quizzes with students, poster competition for junior/senior students, and slideshows are being sent to parents with information on how to create a safer online environment.
- Ballinode Community College, Sligo – We will design a poster and a book about ways to stop cyber bullying.
- Youthreach Clondalkin – Whole Centre approach to integrating safer internet activities and fun activities through online classes.
- Holy Cross Mercy School, Kerry – Webinar for Parents, Zoom workshops for students from Junior Infants to 6th Class, design an internet safety poster, and our internet safety song.
- Killeigh National School, Mayo – Senior classes will learn about false information and how to spot it. Middle classes will learn about not sharing personal information. Infants will learn about the need to take a break. We will publish advice for parents.
The interactive Safer Internet Day Ireland Events Map highlights the great activities that took place to celebrate SID 2021.
Organisations take action for Safer Internet Day
Trend Micro have launched the annual What’s your Story video competition for young people. The theme this year is “How did the internet help you get through this past year”, and it encourages young people to create a 2 minute video to outline how the internet has helped us to get through a difficult year. More information and details about how to enter can be found here.
The Department of Justice has awarded funding to establish a new research observatory on cyberbullying at the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre in DCU.
The announcement was made by the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD, to mark Safer Internet Day and the commencement of Coco’s Law – the Harassments, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Bill.