Lack of online supervision for children must be addressed, charity says

Fewer than one in five young people prevented by parents from having online access in bedrooms, CyberSafeKids finds

Almost a third of Irish children say they can go on the internet without restriction, with one in four coming across online material they would not like their parents to know about, according to research from CybersafeKids Ireland.

The online safety charity published the findings as it started a campaign encouraging adults to approach parenting their children in the online arena in the same way that they approach parenting offline.

According to the CyberSafeKids survey, of more than 1,600 children aged between eight and 12, fewer than one in five are not allowed to go online in their bedrooms, a finding the charity described as worrying.

It found that 30 per cent of children can “go online whenever they want” with 22 per cent coming across content online they “wouldn’t want their parents to know about”. A quarter of children said they were “not allowed online before bedtime”.


Children seem increasingly aware of the negative impact the internet can have, with 50 per cent telling researchers they felt they “spend too much time online” with one in four admitting that they “find it hard to switch off from games and apps” and 22 per cent saying they “waste a lot of time online”.

A further 43 per cent said they were not allowed to chat or game with strangers while 56 per cent said they were not allowed to add friends they did not know.

CyberSafeKids has joined forces with the National Parents’ Council to launch its “Same Rules Apply” campaign to challenge “the arbitrary distinction between ‘offline’ and ‘online’ worlds”.

“We wanted the Same Rules Apply campaign to give parents and carers of children some pause for thought with regards to how we parent our children’s digital lives,” said CyberSafeKids chief executive Alex Cooney.

“Our main concern is around unsupervised access – in places like bedrooms, with doors shut; this can leave them vulnerable to stumbling across highly inappropriate content or being contacted by strangers – in a place that should be safe and protected.”

Áine Lynch, head of the National Parents’ Council, expressed the hope that the campaign would “make parents stop and think about how they parent their children in the digital world”.

“We also hope that parents see that by looking for parallels and comparisons between the online world and the offline world they already have rules in place and parenting skills that they can apply,” she said.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast