Google, through their philanthropic arm Google.org, have donated €1 million grant to Barnardos to help enable children in Ireland to interact safely and responsibly online.

It’s important children are confident knowing how to be safe online. While there are lots of great things about the internet, there are also predators, identity thieves and others seeking to take advantage of children, even harm them.

The grant will see a 4-year education programme rolled out in schools across Ireland. Over 4,000 workshops will be held in 1,000 schools, with Google and Barnardos aiming to reach up to 10,000 students in the first year of the programme and over 75,000 students overall.

On hand for the announcement in Dublin in September was Ireland’s Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh, TD, and Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai.

Barnardos already runs an Online Safety Programme that provides interactive classes for children and young people, teachers, parents and professionals on internet safety and cyberbullying. One of the goals is to promote ongoing communication between children and adults on these topics.

In addition, Google has developed an online resource for parents, children and teachers called Be Internet Legends, which is now available to everyone in Ireland. The programme provides teaching resources, family guides and interactive online games, all focused on the five fundamentals of an Internet Legend: being sharp, alert, secure, kind and brave.

Within Ireland there are a number of government programmes aimed at dealing with internet safety including an Action Plan for Online Safety, which was launched by the Taoiseach in July 2018. The Action Plan reflects a whole of Government approach and contains 25 actions under 5 main goals that deal with criminal offences, removing illegal and harmful material online, working with online platforms, the EU and international partners. There’s also an annual Irish national Safer Internet Day events are organised by Webwise.ie every February.