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Paula O'Connor 19.06.17

My name is Paula O'Connor, I grew up in Finglas, Dublin and began teaching in St. Kevin's College, Ballygall in 1995.

I developed a workshop called 'Don't Be Mean Behind Your Screen' around 10yrs ago, it was part of my own teaching plans for CSPE and SPHE to specifically address the Issue of Internet Safety and Cyberbullying among young kids.

This area was fast becoming a huge concern for me both as a teacher but more importantly, on a personal level, as the parent of 3 young girls.

As the workshop developed and grew over the years we found the intervention at secondary level was too late, so it was introduced locally at primary level.

As of 2014 I am now on the road full-time, travelling to various schools across the country both primary and secondary facilitating the workshop to Teachers, Parents and Children alike.

I have also given informal training to Community Garda from various stations in Dublin and was part of the RTE documentary 'We need to talk about Porn' which was televised in January 2015.

I have delivered CDP training to the the entire staff of Pieta House. This year will be my second year to be one of the guest speakers at the Garda Youth Diversion traning day in Athlone with every Junior Liaison Officer (JLO) from An Garda Siochana present.

I have also given numerous radio and newspaper interviews on the topic of Internet Safety and Cyberbullying.and was a guest speaker at the ‘Zeminar’ conference in the RDS in Oct 2016 with over 30,000 young people, teachers, principals and youth workers in attendance.

Living with a child who has been targeted online, I have witnessed first-hand the devastating and lasting effects this cruel and nasty cycle of behaviour has had and still has many years later.

It is my aim to drive this workshop forward and help to educate both children and parents across the country, then things will get easier, more importantly people’s attitudes will change and our society will then become a safer place with each person’s on-line interaction being a positive and happy one.

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