Senator backs Young Minds Online social media course

Pictured: Senator Hildegarde Naughton & Jillian O'Toole, Digital Training Institute

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17 February 2014 | 0

Galway-based Senator Hildegarde Naughton is backing a campaign to protect young minds online and is calling for social media studies to be introduced into the school curriculum. Her comments come on the first day of Social Media Week 2014 running from 17-21 February.

“I will be asking Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn to consider introducing a programme such as Young Minds Online into the school curriculum,” said Senator Naughton. “The issue of cyber-bullying and protecting young minds online comes up frequently during the course of my work and I feel very strongly that empowering teenagers with education is the way forward. Social media is here to stay and we need to embrace it responsibly.”

Protect Young Minds Online stems from the Transition Year course developed by mother and daughter Joanne and Sophie Burke.

Joanne, who is owner of Digital Training Institute, said the basis of the course came from her own experience as mother. “I was able to navigate my teenage daughter through her social media years because I was well equipped with practical social media knowledge and experience,” she said. “However, this is not true of all parents. So I decided to do something positive and with Sophie’s help we wrote a course dedicated to Transition Year students.”

Young Minds Online is being taught in Salerno Secondary School in Galway and will be available to all secondary schools in Ireland from September.

During the course of the week Digital Training Institute will provide tips, daily facts and blog posts about a range of issues including online privacy, managing your digital footprint, online reputation and how to dela with cyberbullying. They will also launch their national project A Survey of Social Media Use Among Teenagers in the Republic of Ireland which can be completed at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/youngmindsonline.

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