Mary Hanafin launching Internet safety classes for parents and teachers

From a press release. Mary Hanafin launched a new Internet safety programme for kids, parents and teachers today. It seems to have a heavy slant towards social networking sites:

This new initiative focuses on promoting safer and more effective use of social networking websites by children in Ireland

What will be done:

· Nationwide Internet Safety seminars for parents
· Nationwide in-service training for SPHE teachers
· Classroom resources for use in teaching the SPHE curriculum to first, second, and third years in post-primary schools
· Nationwide Social Networking workshops for primary and post-primary teachers

More of the blurb:

This new programme has been developed by the National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE) in partnership with the Social Personal Health Education (SPHE) Curriculum Support Service and the National Parents Council – Primary (NPC)

This is good:

One of their key recommendations is that parents and professionals need to acquire a better understanding that children and young people live in a world of ever increasing sophistication of technological means. The findings recommended that measures be taken to close the widening gap between parents, teachers and children in relation to the use of these new technologies and to Internet safety awareness and safe practice.

That’s the best bit: “measures be taken to close the widening gap between parents, teachers and children”, they should do that for everything, not just Internet usage. If they do this right I’d be delighted. It might make parents and teachers less technophobic too.

11 Responses to “Mary Hanafin launching Internet safety classes for parents and teachers”

  1. Cormac says:

    Righty Ho!

    The NCTE establised the content, good! The NCTE is pretty well informed and moderately well resourced..pity it cannot MAKE teachers go to its courses but thats an issue for the next national pay deal I should think !!!

    The NCTE also runs the Great Firewall and Content Filter of Ireland behind which are the schools that the Great Firewall is supposed to protect on the Schools Broadband Project .

    It does its job well, too well as some teachers would tell you when they cannot book their plane tickets on the Staffroom PC.

    Schools are therefore protected from Internit Varmints as they should be.

    The problem now, Mary , is that a school is probably the last place where you could possibly show these parents what an Internet Varmint ACTUALLY looks like !

    So where EXACTLY do you intend to show these parents the Varmints that you correctly think they should be made aware of ???

    I detect a sulphurous whiff of non joined up thinking here although the NCTE could easily drop the Firewall and Content Filter out of school hours for a few weeks while these courses on Varmints are being run .

    In fact its pointless running any courses until the NCTE does so .

    Just make sure it comes back on at 8am though 🙂

  2. Sinéad says:

    This is such a good idea, about time too.

    I heard about it a few months ago and tried to find out more information about getting involved, hoping they’d have some vacancies to fill, but they didn’t advertise any as far as I can tell. This irks me.

  3. Simon McGarr says:

    This idea is a result of tunnel vision.

    It should be a strand in a wider Media Literacy education. There is no reason why children ought to be taught about Social Networking but not about how to make sense of the advertising and content in the magazines they read, or what they’re told on television.

    Except that the teachers, parents and experts find Social Networking new and scary and don’t have the same feelings about the media they’re familiar with.

    “more effective use of social networking websites by children in Ireland”.
    Children seem to be pretty effective by themselves up until now.

  4. Sinéad says:

    Of course they’re going to find it scarey if they don’t know anything about it. Parents are already equipped to teach their children how to decipher tv/magazine content/advertising, but not about how to use social networking effectively – i.e NOT giving out their home addresses or telephone numbers etc., etc.,

  5. Evert Bopp says:


    Any link to the press release?
    I would like to pass it on to the teachers in the local NS.

  6. Some of the NCTE suggestions evolved on the heels of several highly successfully “Internet in Education” conferences held in Tipperary Institute where social networking featured heavily during last June’s event. We’re converting the day-long programme into workshops this year in hopes of attaining in-service credit for teachers attending and learning. Details of the late May event will be covered at and be subscribeable via Upcoming and Eventful.

  7. Simon McGarr says:

    I’m not saying that some guidance isn’t welcome- many’s the teenager now who will wish that they could take back some of their photos from Bebo- but that treating social networking as something novel and different, outside of its context in the wider media, is a missed opportunity.

  8. 73man says:

    Just saying but I’d rather read a press release where Mary ‘you know I wag my finger’ Hanafin launches a new funding programme for primary education. Get off d’internets, can I haz bookz?

  9. Steve says:

    I watched a program on BBC a few weeks back about how people prayed on young kids using Bebo and Facebook. They talked to two young girls who were stalked by a known paedophile and what happened when he confronted them. They talked to a man who was arrested and convicted of praying on young girls and he was a very well respected business man.

    I just wish the program had been on at an earlier time than 9.30pm. It really was an eye opener and I think it should be shown at all schools everywhere to kids of the bebo/facebook age. I even had words with my niece afterwards about displaying her MSN address on her Bebo after seeing this program.

    However, parents do need to be much more vigilant in these days.

  10. barry says:

    Hi, while the initiative looks good perhaps some of the teachers on here could tell us whether their present school facilities could actually be used to help parents….?? I’ve seen a fair amount of criticism about lack of facilities in schools….

    Maybe it isn’t intended that schools will be used as the source….?

  11. Joe says:

    I hope that closing that gap means that stuff like bebo isn’t banned automatically in schools for time/safety/privacy/bullying concerns. The tool isn’t the problem and they’ll just end up using them at home