We need to start a conversation about regulating dangerous online content because it is negatively impacting our mental health and that of our children.
That is why yesterday evening I launched the Children’s Digital Protection Bill 2018.
The legislation I’m proposing seeks to enforce Internet Service Providers to remove or block access to pro-anorexia and suicidality information.
For example, the 'Thinspiration' generation have unfettered access to websites which actively promote a culture of starvation. In Ireland, there are 200,000 people with eating disorders. The number of hospitalisations of teenage girls for anorexia & bulimia has almost doubled over 10 years.
There are a number of dangerous websites setting out precisely how to end your own life. Some of these websites merely ask the web user to confirm they are over the age of 18 with a simple click.
Research shows that young people who visited pro-suicide sites are 11 times as likely to report thinking about self-harm and seven times as likely to report having suicidal thoughts by contrast to young people who hadn’t visited the sites.
The overriding purpose of this legislation is directed at protecting children. By limiting access to these types of websites, we can hope to raise awareness of Internet-related suicide, mobilize community efforts to combat it & promote healthier norms around suicidal behaviour.
In Ireland, it is a criminal offence to assist someone to end their life - this begs the question why similar sanctions are not available to regulate this type of harmful information.
I ask you all to voice your support for this. Please like, comment, share.
Delighted to be involved in the latest episode of Where There's A Will by A Lust For Life.
A Lust For Life is an extraordinary charity that is actively campaigning for society to talk more openly about mental health. In this episode, we delved into policies and politics of the mental health system in Ireland.
Great night at the launch of Limerick Treaty Suicide Prevention.
I have the utmost respect for the LTSP volunteers, who risk their own lives to patrol the banks of the River Shannon and provide support to those in suicidal distress. Their courage, compassion and empathy serve as an inspiration to us all.
Thank you to Celine, Stephen, Colin and Declan for the warm welcome. It was a pleasure to be involved in this very special night.
It's a privilege to be included in Noel Murphy's painting alongside all 53 female Oireachtas members. The artwork was commissioned to mark the record number of women in our houses of legislation and to commemorate the centenary of women acquiring the right to vote and be elected to Parliament.
Gender balance in politics is necessary for a good, healthy society and its brilliant to see numbers increasing, but we still have a massive way to go.
How do we encourage more women to enter into politics?