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An exploration of e-safety messages to young people, parents and practitioners in Northern Ireland

In June 2013, The National Children’s Bureau (NCB NI) was commissioned by the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland (SBNI) to undertake a scoping study to explore current e-safety messages for children and young people, parents and practitioners in Northern Ireland.

For most children and young people e-technology is part of everyday life and this has become even more apparent in the current research NCB NI is conducting on behalf of OFMDFM where findings show, for example, that four out of five young people (79%) go online everyday and in excess of one in five young people (22%) spend five hours or more online every day. Whilst the literature suggests that for most young people, going online is a positive experience, young people can also experience harm and can face harmful risks online. For example, research findings from the NSPCC (2013) show that one in five children had been the targets of cyber bullying in the last year and 10% of 11 to 16 year olds have been targeted by internet ‘trolls’.

Given the extent of young people’s use of e-technology alongside these worrying statistics, e-safety is now becoming an increasingly important area of work and a priority of many organisations that work with children and young people.

The overall aim of this study is to map existing messages on e-safety that are delivered to young people, parents/carers and practitioners in Northern Ireland. The specific objectives of this study are to:

  1. Define e-safety and associated risks
  2. Develop a profile of agencies delivering e-safety messages in the UK & Northern Ireland
  3. Assess the nature, quality, access to and impact of e-safety messages in Northern Ireland
  4. Make recommendations for improving e-safety messages in Northern Ireland