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Local student scoops European internet award

Monday, 3rd December, 2018 8:00am
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Local student scoops European internet award

Lorcan. Tuohy pictured at the Safer Internet Forum in Brussels receiving his award from European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel.

Local student scoops European internet award

Lorcan. Tuohy pictured at the Safer Internet Forum in Brussels receiving his award from European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel.

Lorcan Tuohy, a Sixth Year student at Borrisokane Community College, was lauded in Brussels last week at the European Safer Internet Forum as an award-winner in the inaugural Safer Internet for EU competition, which was organised by the European Commission.


European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel presented Lorcan with his award for his Student Digital Pledge, which he developed to encourage safe and responsible use of the internet amongst young people. Lorcan’s safer internet pledge was selected as one of the top three from over 600 entries from across Europe along with two other entries from Greece and Austria. His digital pledge has already been used by teachers and youth groups nationally and in a number of European countries.


Speaking at the awards ceremony, Commissioner Gabriel praised the initiative and high standard of the entries in the competition. During the awards ceremony she complimented the commitment, hard work and enthusiasm of the finalists. She encouraged young people to use their voices and pledged the support of the European Commission to support the development of skills and values needed to thrive in a digital society.


In addition, Lorcan was selected this year to represent Ireland as a European Safer Internet Youth Panelist. In this role, he worked with fellow youth panelists from 16 European countries to develop an awareness video and workshop which were also presented at the annual Safer Internet Forum in Brussels. Their video, ‘My Digital Self and I’ encourages young people to be aware of their online identity. The workshop, which was attended by politicians and public representatives, education professionals, industry representatives and internet safety groups from across Europe, focused on the importance of the student voice in online safety debates and focused on key issues such as GDPR and Children’s Rights, Article 13 and Copyright and how Digital Creators Influence Young People. The group spent two days together in Brussels earlier this week designing their workshop and visited the Google offices close to the European district.


Lorcan regularly represents the student voice at internet safety conferences in Ireland as a member of the Webwise Youth Panel. He is actively involved in the development of resources to support young people, parents and schools in promoting online safety. As a Youth Panelist, he has also contributed to the development of the first national Action Plan for Online Safety, a cross-departmental initiative organised by the Office of an Taoiseach and involving the Department of Education and Skills, the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, the Department of Justice and Equality, the department of Children and Youth Affairs, the Department of Health and Business and the Department of Enterprise and Innovation. The strategy was launched in July of this year by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.


Speaking after the awards ceremony in Brussels, Lorcan thanked everyone who had helped to spread his message about online safety. “As a young person, I really believe that we need to use our voices in the ongoing debate around internet safety. We are the future generation and we can play our part in campaigning for a safer internet and most importantly by being more aware of our online behaviour. I was thrilled to meet Commissioner Gabriel and delighted to see the European Commission working on safer internet campaigns.


“I’m really grateful to webwise.ie who promote online safety in Ireland and support us as youth panelists in playing our part in promoting education and awareness.”


Lorcan hopes to continue his work in this area after his Leaving Certificate as he believes that the voice of young people is crucial as they spend a lot of their time online in the digital world.

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