An animated digital campaign to encourage children and young people to stay safe and smart online has been launched by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.
The aim of the #BeSafeOnline campaign is to raise awareness of responsible and safe use of the internet and social media in our communities. Sometimes being online can leave children and young people exposed to potential risk and even harm, feeling upset, bullied, or even worried. This means rethinking online behaviour and asking children and young people to be vigilant and to think carefully about how they interact and communicate with both people they know and strangers online.
This new cyber safety awareness campaign has been developed by the Council’s Safeguarding team through partnership working with Southern Health and Social Care Trust, South Eastern Health Social Care Trust and Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council. The campaign highlights the importance of privacy settings, sharing personal information, meeting with online strangers, handling cyber bullying, and what to do if someone makes you feel uncomfortable or scared.
Both the Health Trusts are ensuring that their teams are on hand to support anyone who needs help or support when navigating the online world. The key phone numbers which are promoted as part of this partnership are as follows: Southern Health and Social Care Trust 028 3576 7100 and South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust: 0300 100 0300. The campaign is also supported by a range of online resources which are available on the Council’s corporate website: www.newrymournedown.org/safeguarding and from here other support services for children, young people and adults are signposted.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Chairperson, Councillor Michael Savage said, “Children and young people are spending more time online than ever before, meaning cyber safety is more important than ever. While websites, gaming, live streaming and social media, like all forms of public communication, come with risks, not all of these risks turn into actual problems. By helping our children understand what some of those risks are, and how they can respond, we can all play a big part in preventing these risks from turning into problems.”
Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Councillor Paul Greenfield said, “Being online is now a ‘normal’ part of life – especially for our children and young people – and technology continues to move at an extremely fast pace. Therefore, it is vitally important that our children and young people understand the potential risks while surfing the internet, playing games, live streaming or using social media.
“Through this #BeSafeOnline ‘Cyber Safety’ campaign, we aim to raise awareness of these risks and help young people to learn how to use some simple, but very effective, cybersecurity measures, while also advising them on how to stay safe while online. We have also provided advice for adults with useful links and information on a range of key online safety topics, to help keep conversations open between young people and parents/guardians.”
Donna Murphy, Assistant Director, Family Support & Safeguarding, Southern Health and Social Care Trust, said, “The Trust’s Safeguarding Team, including the Southern Area Domestic and Sexual Violence Partnership, welcome the opportunity to collaborate with Council to promote awareness and to increase online safety and protection for children and young people while they are surfing the internet, playing games, using social media and live streaming to enable them to respond to any concerns or worries by adopting some simple cybersecurity measures.”
Sheila Simons, Senior Manager at the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust said, “Our Children’s Services very much welcome this new animated campaign to raise awareness and educate young people about being safe online and enable parents/carers to support their children.”
For further information on the #BeSafeOnline campaign and to view the animation please visit www.newrymournedown.org/safeguarding.