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The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) – which represents organisations working with over 380,000 young people nationwide – has renewed calls to ensure that the digital age of consent is set at 13 ahead of a vote on the issue due to take place in Dáil Éireann today.
Speaking ahead of the debate on the Data Protection Bill, Mary Cunningham, NYCI Director said: “The NYCI is calling on all TDs to support the digital age of consent being set at 13 and to allow this Bill to progress when it comes before the Dáil tomorrow evening.”
“The youth work sector understands and deals with risk day in day out. We work with young people to help them negotiate an ever more complex world. Increasing the digital age of consent is not a useful or desirable response to the risks of engaging with the online world.
“Learning how to cross the road is far more useful than hoping for a ban on cars. In the same way, education and a focus on developing critical thinking will be far more useful tools for young people, and the adults in their lives, than an increased digital age of consent which risks providing a false sense of security.”
“There is so much more that can and should be done to help protect young people online. We need to focus our energies here rather than letting ourselves get distracted by the current debates around age limits,” concluded Ms Cunningham.