The government needs to protect the online safety of our children with tough deeds rather than soft words, the Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has warned.
The rural advocate was commenting on the launch by the Children’s Rights Alliance of a new online safety campaign.
Fitzmaurice said: “Our children face ever more serious threats to their innocence in the new digital age.
“Even within the outward safety of the four walls of their homes there is an ever-present threat.
“This makes it all the more important that practical action is taken to protect our children.
“In that regard the unhappiness of the Children’s Rights Alliance with this administration is a matter of grave concern.
“The government has pledged to set up a well-resourced Online Safety Commissioner with an independent, individual complaints mechanism for when online platforms fail to deal with an individual’s complaint adequately or appropriately.
“The Children’s Rights Alliance have claimed that instead we are getting an Online Safety Commissioner in place with no teeth.
“This is all too typical of an administration that always takes the choice of light touch regulation when it comes to the powerful.
“The government should stand up for children and families and be brave.
“Tech companies should be investing far more of their huge profits in appropriate online safety measures.
“And if they fail to do so they should be dealt with in a manner that persuades them it is in their interests to behave.
“If a restaurant or a construction firm or a farm or any other business continuously fails health and safety measures it is heavily fined and eventually it is closed.
“By contrast this government, just in the way that it deals with banks and vulture funds, appears to be afraid to take on these companies.
“Politics in the past has failed the young and the vulnerable too often and too easily.
“We have heard many fine speeches in recent weeks expressing sorrow for the sins of the past in that regard.
“The best apology of all would be to create a powerful Online Safety Commissioner who can take on Big Technology and protect today’s children,” he concluded.
For further information contact Michael Fitzmaurice at 086-1914565