Internet use is now a central part of children and young people’s lives in Ireland today. The vast majority of Irish children are online. The Growing Up in Ireland report found that 86% of all nine-year-olds have a computer in their home. Many now also go online using smartphones, games consoles or other portable devices. Children also start using the internet from a very early age. In the UK, Ofcom reported that 81% of 5-15s are accessing the internet at home and increasing to 97% for 12-15s; additionally, 28% of 3-4 year olds use a tablet computer at home. EU Kids Online also found that Irish young people are avid social networkers: three quarters of 13-14 year olds, and 9 in 10 older teenagers have a profile on a social networking site. Nearly half of 11-12s are also active on social networking sites, despite age restrictions.
The internet is one of the most wonderful inventions of the modern age. But it can also be teeming with risk. Do we have adequate legislation to protect ourselves and our young people from the potential dangers? The Internet Content Governance Advisory Group has been set up by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. They are asking for the public to submit their responses to a Consultation Paper on this matter.
Foróige will be compiling a response to include the views of parents, youth workers and young people. So, what are your views on safeguarding our young people on the internet? We request that you read the Consultation Paper and complete the Response Form. Please send your completed Report Form to email@example.com before Wedenesday March 12th.