Gardaí warn children of exceptional danger of sharing images online

Never arrange to meet any person on the internet, Matthew Horan case investigators warn

Gardaí  have issued a strong warning to parents and children about dangers that can face them on the internet. Photograph: Mark Steadman/Rollingnews.ie

Gardaí have issued a strong warning to parents and children about dangers that can face them on the internet. Photograph: Mark Steadman/Rollingnews.ie

 

Gardaí involved in the Matthew Horan investigation have issued a strong warning to parents and children about dangers that can face them on the internet.

Speaking to the media outside the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin, Det Supt Declan Daly of the Garda National Protective Services Bureau said, “Today serves as a timely reminder of the potential dangers that can occur on the internet.

“It also serves as a reminder for us all of the need for parents in particular to be vigilant of the internet use regarding their children” and serves “as a reminder for children themselves to be aware of the dangers that are on the internet.”

Flanked by colleague Det Garda David Connolly, and Det Sgt Maeve O’Sullivan of the Clondalkin Division of the Protective Services Unit, he repeated what he described as “the Garda’s key message on internet safety for children”.

This emphasised that it is exceptionally dangerous to share images online. “It is very, very dangerous and children should never arrange or agree to meet any person on the internet.”

If images were shared or if an approach is made on the internet to children, gardaí recommended, “Firstly, what they should do is not share any more images. They should stop all communication. They should tell a parent or an appropriate adult. They should preserve the evidence and not delete anything, and they should report the matter to An Garda Síochána, ” he said.

Families, he said, “can go through a significant amount of stress and pain when images are shared online and we’d like to prevent that happening any further families.”

He commended all gardaí involved in the investigation, “in particular the gardaí attached to Clondalkin Detective Service Units, for their good and diligent work on this difficult case.

“I would also like to thank the victims and their families in this case and in other cases who have taken the brave step forward and given us valuable assistance, because without their assistance it certainly would be very, very difficult to get such results as we’ve had today,” he said.