Published date: 26 Jun 2024

As Online Harm becomes a typical childhood experience, strict regulation is crucial


Today (26.06.2024), leading experts in Ireland and UK working in online safety come together to explore strategies that can be taken to create a safer digital space for children and young people.

The event, held by the Children’s Rights Alliance, looks at threats to the safety and wellbeing of children and young people in the online world as well as the impact of Coimisiún na Meán’s Online Safety Code. Exposure to harmful content suggesting hate, self-harm and suicide, cyberbullying, and privacy violations are just some of the issues under the spotlight.

Speaking ahead of the event, Noeline Blackwell, Online Safety Coordinator at the Children’s Rights Alliance said:

“Creating a safe digital space for children and young people is not just a necessity but a fundamental right. We have seen technology evolve at breakneck speed, and while this has resulted in unparalleled opportunities for learning and connection, we must also address the risks emerging because our laws and policies have not kept pace with these rapid advancements. The exposure to harmful content along with the potential for cyberbullying means the digital world poses a real and imminent threat to our children’s wellbeing and safety.

With great power comes great responsibility and to date, social media giants simply have not displayed that responsibility. There has been a united outcry from parents, advocates, experts and even children and young people themselves for regulations that allow for a safe and engaging online environment. Looking at the current state of play and the daily damage occurring to the safety and wellbeing of children and young people from even just a few minutes online, it is vital that tech companies address these challenges head-on and are held accountable for any harm that occurs on their platforms. Implementation of effective measures are a must to safeguard and protect the rights of all their users, particularly those most vulnerable. We know that the tech expertise and capabilities are there to address these harms, there is no justifiable reason not to use them.

Today’s event is a unique opportunity to bring together experts working in the space to discuss and propose comprehensive strategies and steps we can all take to effectively ensure potential risks to children and young people’s safety are mitigated. The ever-changing complexity of the online world demands consistent vigilance and revisiting of regulation so that we stay proactive in protecting our children’s rights.

A collective effort from policymakers, educators, non-governmental organisations and parents will help maximise impact in safeguarding children online but we need a solid foundation in the Online Safety Code to do so. Through making a conscious effort now to create a safer digital space, we are working towards children being able to experience the myriad of benefits technology can offer without compromising their well-being. It is our duty to create an online world where children can thrive safely and securely.”

Professor Sonia Livingstone, keynote speaker at today’s event and one of Europe’s foremost experts on children’s rights in a digital age, commented:

“It is crucial we join forces to strike a balance that provides children and young people with the safety necessary to benefit from digital opportunities without exposure to unnecessary harm. In order to succeed in this, we need to place a focus on efficient regulation that is not only effective in restricting harmful content but also promotes positive digital experiences and engagement.

Tech companies have a duty of care to their users and given its prominence in the tech landscape, Ireland is in a position to really lead across Europe through its new Online Code. We need to see tech giants in Ireland set a positive example and uphold their duty of care through robust regulatory policies that hold platforms accountable for their content and experiences of users. It is unacceptable that falling victim to manipulative algorithms and being led rapidly towards inappropriate and damaging content, relating to self-harm and suicide, is becoming a common childhood experience. A combination of these regulations with collaboration amongst tech companies, governments, and civil society to educate and empower children and young people with the knowledge and tools they need will result in a much safer and harmonious digital world.”




For media queries, contact Robyn Keleghan–0858001275 / [email protected]

Event details

Date: Wednesday 26th June

Time: 2.40pm – 4.30pm

Location: The Ashling Hotel, Dublin 8

Please RSVP to Robyn Keleghan –  [email protected]

Notes to Editors:

  • Spokespeople from the Children’s Rights Alliance are available for media interviews.
  • The following panellists are available for interview:
  • The Draft Online Safety Code can be read here.
  • For event details or to register, please contact Robyn.

About the Children’s Rights Alliance
Founded in 1995, the Children’s Rights Alliance unites over 150 members working together to make Ireland one of the best places in the world to be a child. Further information is available at: or on Twitter, @ChildRightsIRL #YouthSafetyOnline

For media queries, please contact:

Emma Archbold

Campaigns and Communications Director