New Report Explores Child Safety Online | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

A new report exploring the safety of young people online has been published by Stranmillis University College (SUC).

SUC’s Centre for Research in Educational Underachievement (CREU) has published a new research report – ‘Growing Up Online: Children’s Online Activities, Harm and Safety in Northern Ireland’.

The new research report examines what children and young people enjoy doing online, what dangers they encounter, and what training and support they receive. The research was funded by the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland.

The report has been commissioned to inform the delivery of actions associated with the Northern Ireland Executive’s five-year Keeping Children and Young People Safe: An Online Safety Strategy – which is in year two of implementation.

Responding to the report, the DUP called for more action to keep young people

Fermanagh & South Tyrone MLA Deborah Erskine said: “The internet and social media aren’t on the fringes of young people’s lives, they central to them. Amongst the dangers that are posed through the internet, we should not ignore the massive benefits this level of interconnectedness brings. However, the safety issues highlighted in reports such as the Growing Up Online report cannot be ignored. Some of the ideas come down to common sense and parental control such as ensuring young people are not missing out on sleep because they are scrolling on social media. Others highlight the need for legislation to catch-up with the development of technology and for social media companies to take more responsibility for what appears on their platform.

“No-one should have to receive unwanted inappropriate images, or be pressurised to send them, but this is increasingly the normality particularly for young girls. This latest research backs up previous studies from 2020 which found 75% of young girls had been sent unsolicited nude images. The Online Safety Bill has promised to introduce a new image of ‘cyberflashing’ but the sort of harmful content young people are exposed to includes the promotion of suicide and eating disorders.

“Governments have a responsibility to ensure social media is properly regulated rather than being the wild west for users. The ultimate mechanism to make publishers responsible is ensuring that platform users have verified identities rather than being bots in a social media hate factory.

“We should never accept that young people being exposed to harmful and inappropriate content is somehow ‘normal’ just because it is online. This research is invaluable in highlighting the online world that young people are growing up in, but there must be continued action to keep them safe.”

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