Senator Backs Campaign to Protect Young Minds Online

“Social media studies should be part of school curriculum” – Senator Hildegarde Naughton


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 (#SMW14, 17-21 February).

“I will be asking Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn to consider introducing a programme such as Young Minds Online into the school curriculum. 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.”

IMG_2680View video interview here


Senator Naughton was interviewed by Digital Training Institute who are celebrating Social Media Week 2014 with a series of daily digital tips on how to protect young minds online.

‘Protect Young Minds Online’ is a campaign which stems from the Transition Year course developed by mother and daughter Joanne and Sophie Burke, originally from Donegal but now living in Galway.

Joanne who is owner of Digital Training Institute based at NUI Galway says, “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. 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.”

18-year old Sophie says, “While it was a bit annoying to have my mum constantly nag me about my social media habits, I now look back and thank her for her guidance. I’m in Leaving Cert now and looking ahead to my career so my online reputation is really important to me. In writing the TY course I was able to bring the mindset of a teenager while mum has really good practical and academic knowledge.”

Young Minds Online is currently 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 top tips for teens to stay safe online, daily facts and blog posts about a range of issues including online privacy, your digital footprint, managing your online reputation and cyber-bullying. They will also launch their national survey ‘A Survey of Social Media Use Among Teenagers in the Republic of Ireland.’

View survey here

They have also developed an infographic with 10 steps to protect your online reputation and another one depicting reasons why young people use social media which will be revealed later this week.

Join the campaign to protect young minds online and follow the hash tag #youngmindsonline on Twitter and keep up to date with the daily top tips on and on their Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels.

Jillian O’Toole,

University of Limerick,

Digital Marketing Intern,

Digital Training Institute.


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