CyberSafeIreland works to empower children, parents and teachers to navigate the online world in a safe and responsible manner.
We give our children access to the world when they go online, but, in doing so, we also give the world access to our children. Though the internet is an incredible resource, it can also be a dangerous place. Children make up a third of the three billion users of the internet in the world today. However, many parents are unaware of the risks that come with this, such as exposure to inappropriate content, grooming or extortion by predators and cyberbullying. The harm that this causes can be devastating. One in five children have been in contact with a stranger online. Parents and teachers are desperate for expert guidance on internet safety that just isn’t there.
With a background in cybercrime investigation and law enforcement, Cliona was concerned that there was no strategy for this pressing problem. With Alex’s extensive experience in the not-for-profit sector, they came together with co-founder Maggie Brennan to create a solution. CyberSafeIreland teaches children, parents and teachers the importance of safe and positive online behaviour through training and education programmes in schools. Their focus is to influence behaviour change by engaging with children about the apps and games that they enjoy using. Basing their work on best practice worldwide, they are also working on the introduction of an evidence based cyber safety standard for schools to ensure the embedding of internet safety across Ireland.
Since they began in September 2015, CyberSafeIreland has reached over 2,300 children through school workshops across Dublin and Wicklow, prioritising children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Following a return visit to one school three months after their workshop, children who had received the training scored 100% in a test on cyber safety. They plan to raise awareness of this issue through national campaigns, influence government policy and be the centre of expertise in Ireland for cyber safety. With the support of SEI, their goal is to have national reach by 2019 so that every child in Ireland can benefit safely from all the opportunities the internet offers.