Business Technology

Saturday 23 February 2019

More and more children upset by online content - survey

Alyson Henry

A new survey has found that more and more young people are upset with images or content they find online.

The survey called 'Net Children Go Mobile' monitored internet activity among 9-16 year olds and found that double the amount of children asked said they had encountered upsetting things online than those surveyed two years previous.

The survey was conducted among young people from Ireland, the UK, Italy, Portugal, Denmark, Romania and Belgium.

It is is a two-year research project funded under the European Commission’s Safer Internet Programme,  and is being launched by Education Minister Ruairi Quinn ahead of  Safer Internet Day.

While only one in five said they had found unsettling content online this number is up considerably from 11pc in 2011.

In Ireland games consoles proved to be the most popular among young people with 44pc of 9-16 year olds saying they owned a games device. Some 40pc said they had a smartphone and 28pc said they have a tablet.

Of those questioned, 63pc said they use the internet several times a day.

Just under half of children said they access the internet from their own bedroom on a daily basis with 22pc saying they do so several times a day.

Nine out of 10 young people surveyed aged 15-16 said they are a member of a social networking site.

Notably just under 40pc of 11-12 year olds said they have a social networking profile despite the age restriction of 13 for most social networking services.

Eight out of 10 children said Facebook was the main social media platform they used.

However the most popular site over all was found to be Instagram, with 49pc of 9-16 year olds saying they use the media platform to upload and edit images.

Cyber bullying was found to be a problem among girls more than boys with 26pc of girls claiming they had been bullied online while on 17pc of boys made the same claim.

The most common online risk for young people was exposure to harmful user-generated content.

Around one third of girls aged 13-16 have encountered some type of harmful website or forum.

Of those 15pc admitted to having seen pro-anorexia or bulimia websites, 14pc found self-harm sites and 9pc found sites discussing suicide.

Nearly half of older teenagers have seen sexually explicit images online in the past 12 months.

Stranger danger was also cited as a threat to young people online with one in five children saying they have had contact with people they've never met face to face while surfing the web.

The survey showed that for the most part parents were actively involved in guiding their children's internet use.

Four out of five parents said they had explained why some websites were good or bad. And 74pc said they suggested guidelines for how to behave online.



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