Girl texting on smartphone at home

New child safety hub launched

A new hub has been launched in Northern Ireland to help carers, parents, and young people to be safer online.

The Online Safety Hub has been funded by Northern Ireland’s Department of Health and developed by the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland and features two separate sections for parents and young people respectively. Access to the hub is free, offering information on a range of topics including how screen time can be managed, how to report inappropriate content, as well as how best to understand the latest gaming platforms.

Northern Ireland Online Safety Hub

Robin Swann, Northern Irish Health Minister, commented:

“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.”

By having a section dedicated to young people under the age of 18, the hub ensures that education and support is tailored to the needs of children, whilst offering supporting and non-judgemental advice, tips, and pathways for reporting.

Through the launch of the hub, trusting conversations were promoted, with the Northern Irish Department of Health stating that it is never too late to begin talking to children about how important online safety is. Thanks to the importance of this, it is vital that adults are better educated on the very thing they are trying to support children with, leading to the development of the adult specific section of the hub.

Chair of the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland, Bernie McNally, added:

“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.

“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 place.”

 

Image credit: iStock

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