Youth groups advising Coimisiún na Meán on online safety code

Youth groups advising Coimisiún na Meán on online safety code

Niamh Hodnett

Youth organisations and young people have begun advising Coimisiún na Meán on the draft online safety code.

The newly-established youth advisory committee, comprising representatives from nine national youth groups and nine individual members all under the age of 25, met for the first time yesterday.

An Coimisiún will be consulting with the committee on the draft online safety code and related guidance materials, which were released for public consultation earlier this month.

The draft code sets out specific measures that video-sharing platforms will be obliged to implement to keep their users, especially children, safe online.

This includes protecting children from harmful content — such as cyberbullying, content that promotes or encourages a feeding or eating disorder, and content that promotes or encourages self-harm or suicide — as well as illegal content such as incitement to hatred or violence, child sex abuse material and non-consensual intimate image-sharing.

Online safety commissioner Niamh Hodnett said: “Our online safety framework will hold online services accountable for how they protect their users. Being online can bring huge benefits to young people, but they can also encounter a wide range of harmful content or behaviour.

“In putting in place online safeguards for children and young people, it’s important to hear their experiences online and their views on what we are proposing.

“It is vital that we hear directly from digital natives to ensure that the measures we put in place under our first Online Safety Code actually help to create a safer online environment for children and young people.

“We look forward to engaging with the Youth Advisory Committee and to getting their input in these important rules.”

In establishing the committee, Coimisiún na Meán invited organisations representing children and young people under 25 years of age to nominate a representative and a youth member to join the committee.

The organisations invited to the inaugural committee are BeLong To, the Children’s Rights Alliance, CyberSafeKids, the Irish Traveller Movement, the ISPCC, the National Parents Council, the National Youth Council of Ireland, spunout and Webwise.

Ms Hodnett added: “In establishing the inaugural youth advisory committee, we wanted to capture the views and experiences of a wide range of children and young people. We are delighted with the representative group we now have.

“We are always open to hearing from other organisations representing young people that would be interested in joining the committee and contributing to its work.”

The committee will meet again in January, to discuss the draft online safety code and draft guidance materials.

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