While the legal age to have a social media account in Ireland remains at 13, it was found that 90% of 8-12 year olds have access some form of social media.
Additionally, it was found that 1 in 3 people aged between 8-12 played video games such as GTA and are therefore being exposed to violent and harmful content.
At last week’s Joint Policing Committee meetings, Sergeant Noel Laughran presented on the dangers of social media and Cyber Bullying.
In particular, Snapchat and TikTok have brought new challenges that An Garda Siochána have to deal with, such as cyber crimes.
It was found that through Snapchat, there is a growing trend of the allure of ‘easy money’. Users are being advised to hand over bank cards in exchange for money. However, their accounts are then being used to launder money.
Meanwhile, TikTok challenges have become more sinister, and as a result shop lifting has increased, with more young people entering the juvenile system.
It was also found that with the advancement of technology in recent years, 30% of young people said they were followed by someone they do not know online.
Young people are therefore being advised to connect with respect.
With the help of the Gardaí, the aim is to ensure anyone between the age of 12-18 who may get in trouble stays out of trouble and the judicial system in the future.