Junior NI Assembly Ministers Jonathan Bell and Jennifer McCann have urged parents and guardians to ensure children stay safe when they go online. The Ministers were speaking at the launch of the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland’s (SBNI) report ‘An exploration of e-safety messages to young people, parents and practitioners in Northern Ireland‘ on Wednesday 22 January 2014.
Speaking at the launch in Parliament Buildings, Junior Minister Jonathan Bell said: “I am confident that parents, teachers and all who work with children and young people will find this report very valuable. “I have no doubt that there isn’t a parent or guardian in Northern Ireland who would not admit to moments of anxiety about the potential of either social media, or the web, to inflict catastrophic harm on the young people they have responsibility for. “The findings in this unique piece of research will be of significant help in addressing how e-safety messages should be relayed in today’s fast moving online community.” The report covers areas such as defining e-safety and associated risks, developing a profile of agencies delivering e-safety messages, assessing the nature, quality, access and impact of e-safety messages and makes recommendations to improve them. Junior Minister Jennifer McCann added: “As technology becomes more advanced the need to deliver clear, concise and consistent e-safety messages becomes ever more important. “We must educate and empower our young people, parents, teachers and everyone who plays a role in educating and caring for our children. With the right information and an explanation that every action has consequences we can arm them with the right information and tools to keep our children and young people safe online. “I commend the Safeguarding Board and the National Children’s Bureau for their exploration and efforts in relation to e-safety messages.” Hugh Connor, Independent Chairman, Safeguarding Board said: “The Safeguarding Board asked the National Children’s Bureau, NI (NCB), to look at the whole area of e safety and tell us about the messages that are being delivered to children and young people, parents and practitioners in Northern Ireland. “The Safeguarding Board are sharing the research with the government, politicians and many organisations that can help us to try to achieve what the research tells us needs to happen. The report and recommendations highlight a clear need for strategic policy direction, leadership and co-ordination for e-safety in Northern Ireland. SBNI accepts the recommendations and looks forward to working with everyone involved to make e-safety a reality.” For more information on internet safety go to: