17/04/2024

New Online Safety Resource For NI Children And Young People

A new dedicated website has been launched to help children be more safe, secure and supported online.

Funded by the Department of Health and developed by the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland (SBNI) in partnership with Ineqe Safeguarding Group, the Online Safety Hub is split into two sections, one for parents and carers and one for young people.

The Hub is free to access and includes information on variety of topics including, how to manage screen time, understanding the latest gaming platforms and reporting inappropriate content.

Health Minister Robin Swann said: "We know that children today are growing up in an increasingly online world and it is essential that we are doing all that we can to support and guide their digital journey and keep them safe.

"I very much welcome the development of the new hub which I have no doubt will help families navigate life online. I would particularly encourage parents and carers to explore the hub and avail of the advice and guidance, all of which will help parents understand how they can protect their children when they are online."

Bernie McNally, Chair of SBNI said: "It is every child's right to feel safe and happy and to be able to explore their online spaces safely, knowledgeably and without fear. Education on the online risks to wellbeing and safety, and knowing what to do and where to turn when something doesn't feel right is essential.
News Image
"The Hub will support parents and carers to build their knowledge and confidence to help them feel better equipped to support their child's online activity, as well as giving young people the advice and tools they need to stay safe. It brings together a range of excellent resources from multi-agency organisations to help young people, carers, professionals and the general public easily access them all in one central place."

As children get their own devices and spend more time online, it's important they know how to stay safe. That's why the Online Safety Hub has a section dedicated to under 18s. It has been designed to ensure that education and support is tailored to meet their needs. It offers supportive and non-judgemental advice, top tips and a reporting pathways tool to help young people to manage their online lives safety and responsibly.

The single most important factor in keeping children and young people safe online is for them to have conversations with the trusted adults around them. It's never too early to start talking to your children about online safety, but to do that parents and carers need to be informed and education is key to this. The Online Safety Hub provides parents, carers and young people with the tools to be more safe, secure and supported online.

Lynne Knox, Executive Lead for Partnerships and Innovation at INEQE Safeguarding Group said: "We believe that education is key to fostering a safer online environment. By equipping children, parents and caregivers with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate the digital world responsibly, we can help mitigate risks and protect vulnerable individuals from harm. Through the Online Safety Hub, we aim to empower users with practical advice, interactive tools, and supportive guidance, ensuring that everyone can confidently engage with online platforms while prioritising their safety and wellbeing."

The Hub is easily accessible and includes assistive software to reach diverse audiences, featuring text-to-speech, reading and translation support and can be found at www.onlinesafetyhub.safeguardingni.org. It was developed under the Executive's On-line safety Strategy, led by the Department of Health.

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

05 February 2024
25 PSNI Officers Injured In Just 24 Hours
A total of 25 PSNI officers suffered injuries while on duty in just 24 hours, between Saturday and Sunday morning, 3rd and 4th February.
05 February 2024
OFMDFM Challenged To Commit To No Future Collapse Of Stormont
The First and Deputy First Ministers have been challenged to commit not to collapse Stormont in the future, by SDLP Leader of the Opposition Matthew O'Toole. Mr O'Toole has said that his Opposition team at Stormont is "determined to deliver for people across Northern Ireland".
13 June 2016
NI Businesses Lose Over £2m Following Online Crime
Firms in Northern Ireland lost over £2 million following online crime last year, according to new figures. Figures from Get Safe Online and Action Fraud show 247 cases were reported with total losses amounting to £2,152,343 between March 2015 and March 2016. However, police believe the overall losses could be higher.
12 December 2022
Online Safety Warning For Children Issued
The PSNI and Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland has issued a warning to parents and carers about the importance of educating children on online safety before gifting new devices and technology gadgets for Christmas.
19 November 2019
Harbour Police Join Road Safety Campaign
Harbour Police in Belfast are hoping to lead the way and encourage organisations, schools and community groups to help eliminate death and serious injury from our roads. As part of Road Safety Week, 18-24 November, police will be promoting vehicle and road safety at various locations within the Belfast Harbour Estate.