How to teach your children about staying safe online

How to teach your children about staying safe online

By Mary Dennehy

A FORMER Facebook safety analyst from Firhouse is behind a new workshop that aims to equip parents with a better understanding of the dangers posed by the internet – and how to educate and talk with children about being responsible and staying safe online.

A past student of Coláiste Éanna, Patrick O’Hare has developed a new start-up business called Safe and Online, which will deliver community-based workshops for parents, which aim to promote internet safety through education, conversation and preventative measures.

Patrick OHare online safety 11052017

Patrick, who is a Childline volunteer and a former safety analyst and team leader with Facebook, said: “The internet has become an essential part of modern life and has revolutionised access to information and social interactions.

“Among children and teenagers this has created a real opportunity for them to be exposed to individuals and material that can be extremely harmful.

“With the incredible fast pace in which technology has developed it is difficult for parents to keep up with all the dangers and how best to deal with them.

“Cyber-bullying, grooming, sextortion, revenge porn, inappropriate content, identity theft and privacy are just some of the issues that a child or teenager may face while online.”

He added: “I ve found that a lot of what happens in relation to online issues is reactive rather than proactive and I’m hoping through my workshops to provide a proactive response to internet safety.

“I’ll be raising awareness, especially around privacy and the use of mobile phones, and providing practical tips to parents.
“I’ll also be giving parents discussion points on how to talk about the internet with their children.

“We need to teach kids how to be responsible online and encourage them to be confident to talk with their parents about what they are seeing online.

“However, parents do need to take the first step in this and learn how to start the conversation with their children and learn what to watch out for.

“If you take the issue of grooming or cyber-bullying for example, I will be talking with parents about how it happens, why it happens, preventative steps, signs that it could be happening and what to do if it is.”

Patrick will be holding his first workshops in the Firhouse Community Centre on July 6, 7 and 8.

Each workshop runs for two hours and costs €10.

For further information on the workshops or to book your place, call Patrick on 087 4155822 or visit