Rogers pushes for internet safety strategy

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Thursday, February 7th, 2013
SDLP Education spokesperson Sean Rogers has called for all government departments to adopt a joint up approach to tackle the issues around internet safety. Rogers was speaking following an Assembly debate on Internet Safety for Children. Speaking to Newry Times, he said one of the major child protection issues facing us today is the abuse encountered by young people via the internet and on their mobile phones. “Childline had 4,000 counselling sessions last year that focused on callers aged 12-15years old. It is deeply worrying that these children are encountering bullying which affects their self-esteem. It is fair to say that the internet compounds at times those feelings of worthlessness. “I urge the First and deputy First Minister to bring forward a cross departmental Internet Safety Strategy to help children enjoy the wonderful resource of the internet in a safe and secure manner,” he continued. “Most schools are already providing information on the pitfalls of the internet and the dangers young people can be exposed to. This is a topic that can no longer be left to chance, neither in the home or indeed school. “The internet and mobile phones are now part and parcel of our society and in particular of youth culture. As the NSPCC have said we cannot put the genie back in the bottle on this one. Rogers added, “Young people are experiencing all sorts of new forms of abuse in a scale never experienced before. It is vital they know the risks and therefore it is imperative that parents, schools, technology companies and social media websites play their part.”
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