Office for Internet Safety marks Safer Internet Day 2011 - 'Get Webwise! – Get Involved'

EU Safer Internet Day 2011 takes place today Tuesday 8th February. This is the 8th Safer Internet Day and it will be celebrated in more than 60 countries worldwide. This year in Ireland parents are being called on to "Get Webwise! – Get Involved!".

Safer Internet Day is an international annual event, which is organised by European internet safety network (INSAFE) and is co-funded by the European Commission's Safer Internet Programme. It takes place every February to promote safe and responsible use of the internet and mobile phone technologies, especially amongst children and young people.

Speaking today, the Executive Director of the Office for Internet Safety, Mr. John Laffan welcomed the launch of the webwise resource on Facebook and said: "Using the internet is a popular activity particularly among children and young people. Despite the many benefits offered there are also risks which they must be made aware of. The internet is global so it is extremely difficult to control. However there are many ways that you as a parent can help to protect your children from these dangers and ensure that your child’s online experience is happy and productive. Today, I urge parents to Get Webwise! – Get Involved! "

To mark Safer Internet Day 2011 in Ireland, webwise on Facebook, www.facebook.com/webwise, will be formally launched along with the publication of the EU Kids Online: Ireland Report. The National Centre for Technology in Education’s Webwise initiative has set up a Facebook presence to help parents to get involved in what their children are doing online. It contains internet safety parenting videos, interactive games, advice and tools. The Safer Internet Day celebrations will include local, national and international events organised by a broad variety of organisations ranging from schools and youth clubs to industry, civil society and local and national government agencies.

Mr Laffan stated that Safer Internet Day was all about maintaining public awareness for the need for safer internet use for children and young people. He also urged the public: "If you come across content on the Internet that you suspect to be illegal, you should report it using the confidential www.hotline.ie service." 

The Office for Internet Safety (OIS) has produced an information leaflet, bookmark and poster on "Keeping Safe Online". These resources are available from all public libraries. These publications and information on internet safety can be found on the Office for Internet Safety website www.internetsafety.ie. The leaflet produced by the Office for Internet Safety offers measured and practical advice on safe and responsible internet use and will help ensure you and your child's online experience can be happy and productive.

The Office for Internet Safety wishes to acknowledge the support of An Chomhairle Leabharlanna, National Centre for Technology in Education and the Library Association of Ireland in developing the 2011 Safer Internet Day resources.

8 February 2011