by Sarah Donoghue
We here at Oxygen.ie and SMEDIAs 2024 are pleased to announce that Coimisiúin na Meáin will be working with us to sponsor a category in this year’s awards.
Coimisiúin na Meáin is a government agency that was established on March 15th, 2023. It translates to Media Commission, and it works to monitor and regulate all broadcast and online media in Ireland. The Commission replaced the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, it was expanded to include online media as well as broadcasting. Coimisiúin na Meáin is working to support media development in Ireland in many ways, this year they are a sponsor of the 2024 student media awards, the SMEDIAs. Every year a Safer Internet Day takes place. This year is Coimisiúin na Meáin’s first Safer Internet Day, so let’s go over the ways Ireland is celebrating and educating about safe internet.
Safer Internet Day 2024 will take place on Tuesday February 6th. Safer Internet Day is all about reducing harm caused online by increasing education on how to stay safe online and campaigning for stricter regulations on online media companies. Coimisiúin na Meáin is currently working on building up a framework to support a safer online media landscape in Ireland. They are working towards making digital media companies accountable for the safety of their users. Ireland and the EU have recently introduced laws and regulations which will make it possible for them to enforce stricter regulations on how online services deal with illegal and harmful content. Coimisiúin na Meaín also deals with social media platforms in a way which the National Broadcasting Authority did not. Social media is now at the forefront of safety online as well as education around internet safety. Social media poses many safety issues due to the fact it connects people from all across the world, so it is difficult to impose strict safety regulations. It especially poses risks to young people as they are often targeted, and it is difficult for guardians to closely monitor everything young adults are doing online. Coimisiúin na Meaín is working tirelessly to keep people safe online, reduce harmful content and to uphold the values that are at the heart of Safer Internet Day.
Safer Internet Day has been described as “a landmark event in the online safety calendar,” according to saferinternetday.org. It was set up as an initiative by EU SafeBorders as a project in 2004. The next year it was taken up by the Insafe network in hopes to expand the initiative and establish the Insafe network. The day has grown out of its original intended areas in the EU and is now celebrated in almost 200 countries across the world. Safer Internet Day follows the slogan “together for a better internet.”
Safer Internet Day also has a theme each year. This year the theme is “Inspiring change, making a difference, managing influence and navigating change online”. Safer Internet Day also aims to act as an avenue to consult young people on the changing media and internet landscape. Because this year is all about change online, there will be lots of opportunities to weigh in on making change and the future of the internet. They will be looking into young people’s perspective on new and emerging technology, using the internet to make change for the better, the changes young people want to see online, and the things that can influence and change the way young people think, feel and act online and offline
One of the ways the Irish Government supports Safer Internet Day through the organisation Webwise. Webwise works as the Irish Internet Safety Awareness Centre and to provide web safety information in schools. Webwise was set up and is funded in coalition between the Department of Education and the European Commission. The organisation is a part of Oide Technology in Education, which is a support service for teachers and school management which is funded by the Department of Education.j For Safer Internet Day 2024 Webwise is hosting numerous events across the country to continue the work and education on being safe online. Safer Internet Day is aimed at children and students, as well as at parents of children who may be active on the internet. Webwise hosts events and talks in school educating the students on how to be savvy about the dangers online. They cover a range of topics including consent, ownership, data privacy, cyberbullying, digital identity and social networks.
They also host evening events in some schools that parents are invited to, the point of these talks are to teach parents about some dangers their children may face with unrestricted access to the internet. Many parents are also not as tech savvy as their children so are unaware of a lot of scams that go on. Aswell as covering scams and people who are trying to harm their children, they also cover topics which young people may be consensually participating in, but they are unaware of the dangers. Usually, their parents are also unaware that they are doing these things. This includes pornography, sexting, dangerous online challenges and misinformation.