Wednesday 20 September 2017

One in five Irish children 'bothered' by something online in the past year - report

Picture posed. Thinkstock
Picture posed. Thinkstock
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

Young people are experiencing greater bullying on social media platforms and are encountering more harmful images and content because they are spending more time online on their smartphones and tablets, a new report reveals.

One in five children in Ireland say they have been bothered by something online in the past year – double to figure reported in a survey in 2011.

The new Net Children Go Mobile report, launched to mark Safer Internet Day finds that Instagram is the most popular media-sharing platform, with some 42pc of 9-16 year olds using it to share their photos.

Smartphones are the way most 9-16 year olds access the internet, at 35pc, followed by laptops at 29pc and tablets at 27pc.

Damien English TD today urged young people to “think twice” before they acted on an urge to post something online that might be hurtful.

“Just hold back – think of the impact it might have on somebody’s life,” he said.

Meanwhile he told how his own five-year-old son already wants to use mobile phones, saying that learning safe ways to use the internet are skills that young people will be able to use for their rest of their lives.

“If you get a handle on this in primary school it won’t affect you as you grow up and down all the ages,” he said.

Clare Kelly (16), Hanna McKeever (16) and Jennifer O’Keeffe (16) revealed how the younger students had been ‘shocked’ when they were asked to fill out a form containing personal information and were then told that the information would be posted up on the school notice boards.

“That gave them a shock because they didn’t want everyone to see it,” said Jennifer.

“Then they realised that they were doing the same thing online.”

The younger students are now ‘much safer’ in their online activities, she added.

The project had a much bigger impact because it was ‘peer-to-peer’ revealed teacher Claire Wood.

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