Keith Gillespie and Aaron Hughes help launch plan to tackle online abuse

A new educational platform aimed at helping young people tackle online bullying and abuse in sport has been launched by former Northern Ireland football internationals Aaron Hughes and Keith Gillespie.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 14th February 2022, 12:02 am
Keith Gillespie at Armagh City Football Club with young players Pauric McShane, Shae McManus, Enda Smyth and Aodhn Carson
Keith Gillespie at Armagh City Football Club with young players Pauric McShane, Shae McManus, Enda Smyth and Aodhn Carson

BT has joined forces with the Irish FA and non-profit organisation Cybersmile to kick off the Hope United Roadshows in Armagh and Greenisland, which provide youngsters with content from the new platform as well as offering them a football masterclass.

The modules are available to everyone, for free, from today at cybersmileeducation.org/cat/roadshow.

The platform comprises three modules focusing on upskilling users and educating them on how to be good digital citizens.

The modules include content specific from each FA team across the UK including Northern Ireland’s Jamal Lewis, England’s Harry Kane, Wales’ Helen Ward and Scotland’s Lana Cleland, as they discuss their personal experience of online hate and abuse.

Jamal Lewis said: “Some people think that, as footballers, we should be able to deal with social media abuse, that it’s a ’part of the job’, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. That’s why it’s so important we show young people that a post or comment doesn’t just live online but can have a long-lasting impact.”

Keith Gillespie added: “It is long overdue that as a society more is done to tackle abuse on social media and I’m so proud to be involved in today’s BT and Cybersmile launch.

Aaron Hughes said: “Initiatives like the Hope United Roadshow will play a big role in ensuring kids grow up with positive online behaviours and know how to deal with online abuse.”

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