Zeeko, headquartered at NovaUCD, welcomes the Government Action Plan on Online Safety as launched by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. The Action Plan is centred on five goals to ensure public safety online (i) online safety for all (ii) better supports for citizens (iii) stronger protections for people (iv) influencing national and EU policy (iv) building Government’s understanding of online safety issues. The implementation of the plan is driven by a whole government approach.

Commenting on the Action Plan, Joe Kenny, CEO, Zeeko said,Zeeko welcomes many of the initiatives outlined in the Action Plan, including the development of resources for parents of pre-school age children. We know from our research that 12-year olds report their first online experiences from age eight upwards. By comparison, 7-year olds report that their first online experiences begin from age five.  These resources will help parents embed positive behaviours from a young age.”

Other highlights from the Action Plan include the development of website content for peer to peer workshops that encourage students to be self-reflective and autonomous in the learning process. This will give young people the critical thinking skills to be able to safely benefit from technologies that are not yet invented and from challenges that are not yet defined.

Also, the publication of an annual safer internet report to coincide with Safer Internet Day has been welcomed by Zeeko.  This will build on the existing Irish research to give evidence-based insights that will inform future online safety and well-being initiatives.

Zeeko promotes internet safety to young people in Ireland and works in both primary and secondary schools countrywide.  “In light of the digital issues facing young people today, the Action Plan is not far-reaching enough to promote positive digital well-being.  New technologies are creating different challenges for Irish society. The Action Plan recommends employing traditional media such as interactive resources, training sessions and webpages in facing these challenges. However, the solutions need to employ innovative technologies such as gaming technology, augmented technology (AR) and virtual technology (VR) to engage young people and to facilitate different teaching methods,” said Joe Kenny, CEO, Zeeko.

The Government Action Plan is a positive development to create awareness and give families across Ireland the tools to safely benefit from the Internet and technology. The challenges created by the Internet and technology create a significant challenge for every community in Ireland. The whole government approach through 6 government departments will drive a multi-dimensional solution which is necessary for this complicated societal challenge.

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