Parents feel 'ill-equipped' to protect the selfie generation
Parents are concerned and baffled by the trend among teenagers for taking a 'selfie' photograph to put on social media websites .
And when it comes to the internet, just 40pc of families have 'house rules' to protect youngsters online, according to a new survey.
Eight out of 10 parents are concerned about their child's online activities but the majority do not set out rules to restrict what they can access and to protect them from online and mobile threats.
Research carried out for the Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland (ISPAI) by iReach found one of the biggest concerns for parents was the rise of the 'selfie' – which involves a person taking a photograph of themselves and often posting it online.
The study, which surveyed almost 800 adults, found 46pc of children regularly take and post 'selfies'.
Yet, 60pc of parents dislike their child taking part in this, while 26pc were indifferent.
Oisin Byrne, chief executive of the research group iReach, pointed out many parents feel they are being left behind by the ever-changing nature of new technologies.
"This study shows a generational gap emerging in the use of social media platforms with children favouring newer platforms such as Viber and Instagram, which have become significantly more popular amongst children compared to their parents," it found.
Some 40pc of children use the newer media such as Viber and picture sharing site Instagram, compared to just 26pc of their parents, who are more inclined towards Facebook and Skype to speak to people over the web.
Mr Byrne said parents reported feeling "ill-equipped" to help their children stay safe online.
"While child safety and online privacy are serious issues and of enormous concern to Irish parents, this research shows that many parents feel alienated by the rapid pace of change in online activity," he said.
Six out of 10 parents would like to monitor their children's mobile and online activities.
Niall Mulrine, a computer expert who delivers anti-bullying guidance lectures to students, teachers and parents, agreed that many parents do not understand the technology and it is a "big gap to bridge".
"For parents the number one step would be to get on a few social media channels themselves to figure out how to use them," he said.