The Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland (SBNI) has published a draft e-Safety strategy and action plan for consultation.

The aim of the strategy is to promote and encourage children and young people to use digital and internet technology safely through information, support and education.

Richard Pengelly, Department of Health Permanent Secretary has welcomed the launch. He said: “We live in a digital world where technology is part of everyday life. There are huge benefits to technology, offering opportunities for social interaction and providing easy access to information. There are however also risks and it is important that our children and young people receive clear guidance and support on how to keep themselves safe online. I encourage anyone with an interest to have their say on this important consultation and to help shape the strategy going forward.”

The core principles underpinning the draft strategy are:

  • all children and young people have the right to access and make use of the knowledge that the online world provides, as long as the information doesn’t cause harm to themselves or others;
  • all children and young people must be equally supported to stay safe online, regardless of where they live; and
  • all children and young people must be educated and empowered to access the online world safely, rather than restricted.

The draft strategy identifies the need to deliver a consistent set of e-safety core messages to help protect children and young people from the risks of online activity. Risks differ depending on children and young peoples’ gender, age, physical or learning disability, their mental health or sexual orientation. In addition, different challenges may exist for more vulnerable children and young people.

The Action Plan identifies actions to deliver on the strategy aligned with the three key pillars – creating a sustainable infrastructure; educating our children and young people and those who work with them; and developing evidence-informed quality standards for e-safety provision.

The consultation will run from March 4, 2019 for eight weeks until April 24. All relevant documents are available on the SBNI website:

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