Fine Gael Senator Fidelma Healy Eames at the oireachtas hearing on social media.
Fidelma Healy Eames: “There is absolutely responsibility on parents and educators, but they cannot keep up with it. Take, for example, the form called ‘fraping’, where you’re raped on Facebook. Where a youngster has their status open and another person puts a message on there, as if they wrote it. And that message could be, for example, sexual. It goes out into the world as if they said it. This type of thing has to stop. There has to be some controls put in place here.
What about sexting? Where they are texting sexual images. Now I heard recently that that is a criminal offence. Can you verify that, Minister (Pat Rabbitte)? I also heard recently that no matter what you do on the internet, you leave a digital footprint and even if those images are erased, that they can be, or images, or text messages, is it true that they can be, em, found again? I want to ask you that question. Because everybody needs to work together here: parents, teachers, the youngsters.
And I believe, until we have a system minister, similar to what we have with the Press Ombudsman, for the print media and the broadcast media, we need some type of set of guidelines. We need some type of report, place to report it to. We do need to know that there’s sanctions there. I believe that, until we have that, the public aren’t going to be adequately educated or protected. And, minister, would you see it within your remit, minister, your responsibility, to ensure that there’s a set of guidelines there for people who have been hurt and damaged by social media. I am particularly thinking of our youngsters.
And somebody else referred to counsellors in schools. Well may I now say this to you, minister. I am quite familiar with counsellors, who are very, very busy because they’re trying to work with the youngsters that have been hurt as a result of abusive social media. So I absolutely take the good on board but while, no, I really want to say this, while the good is happening, around freedom…”
Chairman: “I know..but it’s for questions, now. We’re on very limited time.”
Healy Eames: “I’m finishing on this. We need to ensure that the abuse isn’t greater than the good, in the terms of the damage. And my final question, minister, is can we have a situation here where an identity, the identity of every user is registered with an IP address in this country? I am familiar with where IPs were registered in the United States and they couldn’t be tracked down. So thank you (chairman) for that opportunity.”
Script by Chris Morris.
Thanks Oireachtas Retort