There is an office dedicated to road safety in Ireland that works to ensure that we as citizens are aware of the correct way to use the road so as to ensure our and other road users safety.
It is recognized that the road can be a dangerous place and the best way to ensure that it is safer is to set limits on what people can do and to only allow people of a certain age who have trained and passed an exam to use a vehicle on the road.
In Ireland we also have an office for Internet Safety, which provides information to people on safe use of the Internet . It does so because it recognizes the very real dangers that it contains.
Children and Teenagers in Ireland today are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their use of the ever increasingly powerful communication tools on the internet such as social networking sites, internet enabled camera phones and video and photograph sharing websites.
While the technology offers fantastic opportunities for people to learn, play and to interact with their peers, there can be downsides too. The anonymous and instantaneous nature of the internet can leave people exposed to greater risks from potential bullies and sexual and other predators.
A lot of people are aware of this but they often don’t take the additional step to reduce the risks of exposure.
The world wide web s aptly named it is open to all kinds of characters some of whom you wouldn’t let inside your door but ehy can visit your house through the Interent. It is only by giving your children the skills and cop on to be ware of what they are dealing with that the nasties of the world won’t find a we;come on the mat at your house.
office for Internet Safety offers the following advice to parents:
Get Involved: Learn more about what your children are doing online. Become familiar with the systems they use, if you don’t know how to use them ask them to show you or teach yourself how to use them.
Talk to them: Explain to them the potential dangers that exist, encourage them to talk to you if they are having difficulties or experiencing problems with other users that they may be interacting with on the Internet.
Set guidelines: Set Guidelines in relation to internet usage, when it can be used, for how long, what kind of information that they should be giving out, encouraging them to treat other users with the same level of respect that they want people to show them
Use Available Resources: Many of the technologies that children use today have resources that can be used to help protect children from inappropriate or obscene content. Filtering , Blocking and Parental Control Systems are among some of the options available.
Be Vigilant: Keep computers where you can see them, keep an eye on the sites that they are visiting to ensure their suitability
Report! –Any instances of suspected online child abuse should be reported to www.hotline.ie immediately.
At present there are no regulations governing what can or cannot be contained or communicated on the Internet. The Office for Internet Safety works in partnership with the Internet Service providers Association who are a self-regulated group and they all ascribe to a code of ethics. But it is only this week that the first ISP agreed to establish a system of banning access for people trying to access child pornography.
The point is that we see Road Safety is on a different level to Internet Safety but just raising the question should it be, mental and emotional scars are not visible as are the results of a road incident but they can be debilitating nonetheless.
This article was prepared using information and some text from the site http://www.internetsafety.ie/, which is the site of the Office for Internet Safety in Ireland. The Office for Internet Safety has been established by the Government to take a lead responsibility for internet safety in Ireland, particularly as it relates to children. The Office for Internet Safety aims to build linkages and cohesion between all Departments and agencies to ensure that the State provides the best possible protection for the community and promotes internet safety, particularly in relation to combating child pornography.
They have some great resources for parents and other concerned people, including a wonderful list of safe sites available at http://www.internetsafety.ie/website/ois/oisweb.nsf/page/links-en#child-friendly and a series of downloadabe guides entitled the Get With IT series available at http://www.internetsafety.ie/website/ois/oisweb.nsf/page/publications-en