Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children Robert Troy is calling for the Office of Internet Safety (OIS) and the Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland (ISPAI) to appear before the Sub-Committee on Children and Youth Affairs to discuss a number of issues regarding child protection, cyber-bullying and internet pornography.

Deputy Troy has written to the Chairman of the Committee, Jerry Buttimer TD, to ask officials from the OIS to appear before a special meeting of the committee as soon as possible.

Deputy Troy commented: “This week’s decision by the British regulator Ofcom to fine Playboy £100,000 for showing sexually explicit videos on its website without ‘acceptable controls’ to check that users are over 18 pushes the issue of safety for children online into the spotlight again. We still have a system of self-regulation in relation to illegal and harmful internet content in Ireland and we need to have a debate about whether this is still the most appropriate response to issue of child safety, pornography and cyber-bullying.

“There have been a number of cases of cyber-bullying in recent months and I have seen no evidence that the industry takes this issue seriously. I am also concerned about the level protection there is for children from pornography and other harmful material on the internet. It’s been clear for some time that the safeguards put in place under a self-regulation regime are not keeping up with the issues affecting children and worrying parents.

“The duties of the Internet Safety Advisory Committee (ISAC) in the Office of Internet Safety include:

  • · to advise the Office for Internet Safety on all aspects of internet safety, particularly as it relates to children
  • · to advise on the monitoring and evaluation of the existing self-regulatory framework by Internet Service Providers to ensure a safer internet environment
  • · to advise on public awareness raising in relation to illegal and harmful content on the internet

“I believe the Select Sub-Committee on Children and Youth Affairs would be an appropriate forum for this debate on internet safety, age verification procedures and ultimately making the internet safer for children to use.”