Online safety

Staying safe online

Our lives revolve around the internet, computers, smartphones and other devices.

While the internet has many benefits, it also poses risks. Online safety is essential for both children and adults.

Keeping users safe online: new and upcoming changes

In March 2023, Coimisiún na Meán (this means the media commission) became the new media regulator for online safety, television broadcasting and video-on-demand services.

Since 17 February 2024, you have the right to make a complaint against online platforms if you encounter harmful or illegal content, need to report a violation of terms, or have concerns about targeted ads.

Coimisiún na Meán is currently developing Ireland’s first Online Safety Code (pdf).

Read more about legislation covering online safety below.

Keep your child safe online

Understanding the risks your child may face online is crucial.

Dangers include the loss of privacy, exposure to inappropriate content, cyberbullying and online grooming.

Learn about the apps they use and discuss:

  • Adjusting security and privacy settings
  • Blocking or unfriending unwanted contacts
  • Deleting profiles and accounts
  • Dealing with inappropriate content

Safeguard your child online by using:

  • Parental controls to manage your child’s online activities
  • Filters to restrict their access to specific content, using tools such as SafeSearch
  • Time tracker tools to monitor their social media with available app features

Resources for parents

Get information and advice from:

Protect yourself online

As adults, staying safe online is essential with the growing number and sophistication of cybercrimes.

Learn how to avoid scams, especially when shopping online. Verify the company is legitimate and only use secure ways to pay. Be especially careful about transferring money to people or websites you do not know.

Online scams

Internet scams can affect anyone at any time. Be alert and know what to do to help protect yourself from scams.

If you think you have been the victim of a scam or fraud, report it to your local Garda Station. Bring any relevant information you have (like emails or bank statements).

Phishing and malware

Be cautious about unsolicited emails or texts. Never click on a link you do not trust or download suspicious content.

The Europol European Cybercrime Centre has information on malware basics.

What is illegal content?

Content is illegal if it breaks Irish or EU law.

A person can be guilty of a criminal offence if their online content includes:

  • A serious threat of violence that is believable
  • A campaign to harass someone (including cyberbullying)
  • Making threats, being abusive or saying insulting things that could create hate against a group of people based on their race, colour, nationality, religion, ethnic or national origins, membership of the travelling community or sexual orientation
  • Sending an unwanted picture of someone’s genitals to cause distress, fear or alarm
  • Engaging in offensive sexual behaviour
  • Sharing an intimate picture without the person’s permission
  • Urging someone to try harm themselves or providing information on how to attempt suicide
  • Creating or sharing materials involving the sexual abuse of children or promoting such materials
  • Encouraging terrorist activities or making threats to commit acts of terrorism

Coimisiún na Meán has a useful table showing which pieces of legislation cover each type of illegal content – see ‘What makes content illegal’.

How to report online crime or threats

Illegal content

Online platforms must have a way for you to tell them about illegal content. If you tell them about something illegal, they must review it and act if they agree. They must do this quickly and tell you what they decide.

If the platform does not delete the content or respond to you, you can make a complaint to Coimisiún na Meán.

If you or someone else is in immediate danger or risk of harm, call emergency services, for free, by dialling 112 from any phone.

You can also report illegal content anonymously and confidentially to the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPAI) at

Financial transaction disputes

You can dispute a transaction with your bank or credit card company if you did not authorise the transaction. Contact your bank or credit card company and ask for a chargeback.


Report fraudulent activity to your local Garda station or to the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB).

Personal information complaints

Complain about the use of your personal data to the Data Protection Commission using the online form.

The law covering online safety

In December 2022, the Online Safety and Media Regulation Act 2022 was signed into law. It aims to improve online safety for children.

The Online Safety Commissioner (OSC) is part of Coimisiún na Meán. The OSC will regulate online services and will have enforcement powers to deal with disputes.

Coimisiún na Meán came into operation on 15 March 2023. It is currently developing Ireland’s first Online Safety Code (pdf).

The Code will:

  • Establish important rules that online platforms (like social media) will have to follow
  • Make sure platforms are responsible for protecting the safety of their users
  • Impose severe fines (up to €20 million) on platforms that do not meet these safety requirements

More information about online safety

The Department of Justice and Equality has more information about the Cybercrime division and Government’s Action Plan for Online Safety (pdf).

The An Garda Síochána website has a local Garda station directory.

Read detailed questions and answers on your right to complain about online platforms on Coimisiún na Meán’s website.

Coimisiún na Meán

Contact Centre
Coimisiún na Meán
2 – 5 Warrington Place
Dublin 2
D02 XP29

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm
Tel: 01 963 7755

Garda Economic Crime Bureau

Harcourt Square
Harcourt Street
Dublin 2
D02 DH42

Tel: 01 6663776
Fax: 01 6663798

Data Protection Commission

Online Safety for Children

21 Fitzwilliam Square South
Dublin 2
D02 RD28

Tel: 578 6848000/761 104800

Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children


29 Lower Baggot Street
Dublin 2

Tel: 01 6767960
Locall: Freephone: 1800 666 666, Freetext: 50101


Dublin City University
Dublin 9

Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland/

Unit 25 Sandyford Office Park
Blackthorn Avenue
Dublin 18
D18 HX62

Locall: 1890 610 710 (Rates may vary)
Page edited: 6 March 2024