The GAA, in partnership with Google, has launched its anti-bullying and internet safety programme to over 100 participating clubs from the GAA, Ladies Football and Camogie Associations in Ireland and Britain, targeted at the 9 – 12 years age group.
As part of the Gaelic Games, Give Respect – Get Respect initiative, this programme incorporates Google’s Be Internet Legends initiative, an existing free, online safety education programme for primary-age children helping them to become safe and confident explorers of the online world. The programme helps children bring the respect and values they learn on the field into their online interactions encompassing learnings and activities in the areas of anti-bullying, developing positive behaviour and staying safe online.
This programme mirrors the Give Respect – Get Respect initiative which promotes respecting fellow players, coaches, referees, opponents and officials; playing fair; treating others equally; setting an example; and creating an environment where children feel confident and comfortable to talk to a coach or adult if they have a concern.
Speaking at the launch the GAA President Larry McCarthy welcomed the involvement of the Gaelic Games Give Respect – Get Respect initiative in this programme. He said:
“This is an ideal opportunity to raise awareness around the need for young players to show respect for referees, fellow players, coaches and opponents, both on and off the field of play.
“It is the Association’s intention to further develop the ‘Respect Initiative’ over the period of our recently launched Strategic Plan and this Anti-Bullying and Internet Safety Programme will be supported and closely monitored.”
Speaking in Croke Park at the launch, Shane Nolan, Director, New Business Sales, EMEA, Google Ireland, said:
“At Google Ireland, we recognise the responsibility that we have as a company to protect and support the users of our products. We need to play our part in ensuring that the internet is an accessible resource to all and that it’s used in a positive way. We are delighted to build upon our already successful partnership with the GAA to deliver the Be Internet Legends programme to even more clubs and children across the country. Google Ireland is committed to helping empower young people to act wisely, responsibly and safely all the while remaining confident explorers of the online world.”
Minister of State Jack Chambers TD speaking at the launch said:
“I am delighted to support and help launch this important initiative. Abuse of our players, coaches, referees and volunteers is unacceptable and must be called out – whether it occurs on the pitch, in the training grounds, up in the stands or online. This initiative underlines the commitment of the Gaelic Games family to tackling the scourge of bullying and to protect and safeguard all those who participate. The initiative equips young people to identify and learn how to respond to online abuse and bullying, with the learnings then applied to a sports setting. I congratulate the GAA and partners Google on this welcome and important initiative and look forward to it being rolled out to children in clubs across the country.”