The Kildare based executive director of the Digital Youth Council of Ireland has rejected calls for a ban on smartphones and restrictions.
Harry McCann (19) is a key figures in the Digital Youth Council, a youth led, non-for-profit organization that was founded in 2015,
Mr McCann, speaking on behalf of the DYC, said in October 2016, as a member of the Government Data Protection Forum, the Digital Youth Council made a submission to the forums consultation on Article 8 of the General Data Protection Regulation and the digital age of consent. “In our submission the council recommended that the digital age of consent for Ireland should remain at 13-years-old. In our recommendation we made it clear that we believed that raising the digital age of consent was not in Ireland's best interest. We recommended that instead of raising the age, young people would be better protected were the Government to introduce digital education into our schools. The government has thus far failed to act upon our recommendation and digital education continues to be absent from our schools. We believe this failure is putting the young people of Ireland at a huge risk online.
He said the recent case of Matthew Horan is one that has shocked and disgusted nation. “The case has started a welcome discussion on the safety of young people online. The Digital Youth Council welcomes this discussion, however, the calls from the Irish Daily Mail and other media outlets for a smartphone ban and restrictions is not something that the council supports. As a country, we have a responsibility to protect our young people online, and the Digital Youth Council believes the introduction of a ban would be the equivalent of the government sweeping this responsibility underneath the rug.”
Mr McCann said the DYC believes that government must now act and make introducing digital education into our schools a key priority. “The online world opens our young people up to huge risks, however we believe that by teaching our young people to be safe and responsible online, we can help to protect them from the dangers. Completely guaranteeing their safety online is not possible, but by educating our young people properly we can give them the skills and knowledge necessary to be safer online, and to do deal with any problems or threats they may encounter.”