Child Watch
Digital Age Child Protection since 2008

PROTECTING IRISH YOUNG PEOPLE

Since completing an in-depth review of digital age child protection issues on behalf of Barnardos (Irl) in 2008, we have conducted intensive research into issues that face young people in digital space. Many of these problems are not visible or obvious to internet users and it requires independent and unbiased probing, discovery and assessment of the potential impact on young people.

 

We have presented (jointly with INTERPOL) to members/staff of the Oireachtas; devised material for staff and students of Tusla (Clonmel); provided workshops for professional investigators, documentary makers, members of the religious congregations, and NAPD (National Association of Principals and Deputies) delegates in 2011 and 2015; and delivered our Teen Safe presentations and demonstrations series to over 82,000 students, parents and schools staff.

 

Our evidence has featured directly in RTE Prime Time (2010) and Investigations Unit (2014) documentaries; formed the basis of modules for BBC and Channel 4 researchers investigating online threats to young people; been used by lawyers researching content for civil and criminal cases in the UK and Ireland.

 

Are you a school's principal, counsellor or staff?

School's normally make requests for eSafety speakers and assistance with an investigation into an incident. Another issue is the requirement to manage and secure ICT infrastructure and data with which many schools have difficulty. Staff also find our research to be of interest.

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Are you a parent/guardian?

Here the need is often to read up about issues that relate to some incident that may be ongoing. We receive requests to investigate specific online problems, monitor a young person's online images when they are being interfered with, assess a digital footprint and compare findings to a CV, and often to listen to a set of concerns and give an informed opinion where possible.

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Are you involved in protecting children?

We have made presentations to students in care and advised staff on specific issues. Our investigative and monitoring services are also of benefit where a young person is vulnerable as a victim or perpetrator online.

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Are you a journalist or researcher?

We receive a number of requests to assist those in academia and journalism that are involved in researching issues that we have encountered on our journey. While we publish a lot of material, the very nature of some of our research is not given to public disclosure and in bonafide cases where identity and purpose is established, we will discuss the background to redacted research.

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