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Online Safety

Parents say online safety should be compulsory part of school curriculum, poll reveals

23 September 2020

A recent survey from the Republic of Ireland has found that parents believe online safety should begin in the classroom, and should be part of the school curriculum.

The poll, part of the Barnardos Online Safety Programme, found that parents believed learning about online safety should begin as early as primary school.

According to the poll, children, teachers and parents all had similar concerns about the safety of being online — particularly around cyberbullying.

Amongst the concerns young people had about being online, their biggest concern was that someone might share an embarrassing photo of them on social media, and just after that was a fear of receiving unkind messages online or be excluded from online groups by their friends.

Teachers said their top concerns were children spending too much time online, which would impact their behaviour at school, as well as the impact on pupils of cyberbullying or inappropriate games.

Parents said they were most worried about cyberbullying, inappropriate content online, and the risk that their children might interact with strangers on the internet.

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Help us protect children online

This polling is consistent with other surveys which have found that parents in particular are concerned about their child's safety online.

CARE's recent work has focused specifically on protecting children from inappropriate and pornographic content online.

We have been calling on the Government to implement age-verification on pornographic websites, since legislation to introduce this mechanism was brought in via the Digital Economy Act in 2017.

Since then, the Government has reneged on its promise to implement the scheme, and has instead decided to adopt a different approach altogether — one that could take years until it is ready.

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CARE is continuing to press the Government to take action and to use legislation that is already ready to be put to work. Its failure to do so was recently part of a legal challenge, where it was found to have a case to answer.

In a context where children can easily access pornography and inappropriate content online, it is more important than ever that the Government take swift action.

Stand with us: Help Protect Children from Online Porn

Read more: 5 Ways Online Porn Harms your Child

"The only thing worse than doing nothing about online safety is having world-leading legislation to confront it and yet not bothering to use it."
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Online Safety

For children and young people, access to harmful online content is only a click away. CARE is working towards a society where they are as well-protected online as they are offline.

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