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Tenth of our children get sex messages

ONE in 10 Irish children have received sexual messages online, a shocking new report has found.

Despite parents being among the strictest in the EU in supervising their children's use of the internet, 10pc of 11 to 16-year-olds received sexual messages online -- but fewer than a quarter of their parents knew about it, the EU Kids Online report found.

The report also revealed that the sexual messages are sent to children repeatedly. It found that 7pc of the 15 to 16-year-olds who report seeing or receiving such messages said it happens more than once a week, while for most, it happens less than once a month.

While boys were more likely to receive such messages, girls were left more upset as a result of the contact. Nearly one third of Irish youngsters have made contact online with someone they did not previously know.

The older they are the more likely they are to do so, but overall just 4pc of nine to 16-year-olds have gone on to meet the person face to face and Irish children are among the least likely to do so, an EU survey has found.


The survey, the largest ever undertaken in the EU on children and their relationship with social networking sites, also reported that that despite Facebook setting a minimum age of 13 for membership, more than 20pc of nine to 10-year-olds and 50pc of 11 to 12-years-olds have their own profile.

The younger the Irish users, the less likely they were to have their privacy settings in place, the survey found. Half of all Irish nine to 12 year olds lie about their age in their profiles, much higher than the EU average, it revealed.

It also showed:

  • More than 50pc of nine to 16-year-olds post the name of their school.

  • A quarter of nine to 12-year-olds also revealed they made contact online with people they had never met in daily life and with whom they have no connection other than on the internet.

  • One third of nine to 12-year- olds had no idea how to block unwanted messages on Facebook, or where to find relevant safety information.

  • More than 90pc of parents said they kept an eye on what their children were doing on the internet.