The vast majority of 8-12 year olds in Ireland have social media profiles
92% of children surveyed have a smart device.
Most children in Ireland between the ages of eight and 12 are now signed up to social media and messaging apps.
This is according to research published on Safer Internet Day (Tuesday, 9 February) by the childrens’ online safety charity, CyberSafeKids.
Formerly known as CyberSafe Ireland, CyberSafeKids surveyed 2,089 National School children as part of the research and expressed concern over the findings.
92% of children surveyed said they own a smart device and 28% said they can go online whenever they want, with 15% saying they don't have any rules over internet rules by parents or guardians.
The data from the survey shows that 28% of children have friends or followers who are strangers.
Minimum ages are in place on many of the most popular apps but seem to have little effect on preventing those under the required age from accessing the services.
The five most popular apps (with minimum age restrictions in brackets) are:
- TikTok (13) - 46% of children
- WhatsApp (16) - 35%
- Snapchat (13) - 33%
- Instagram (13) - 15%
- House Party (13) - 16%
“Covid restrictions mean that more children than ever are using social media despite being younger than the minimum age restrictions that are meant to apply," Alex Cooney, CEO of CyberSafeKids, said.
"We’re concerned that there is not enough parental oversight of the content children are consuming, and that so many kids have friends or followers that they don’t actually know in real life.
"This Safer Internet Day we want to use the opportunity to remind parents of the importance of being involved in their children’s online lives.
"It is essential that they are having conversations with their kids and putting boundaries in place, as well as keeping an eye on what they're consuming, who they’re talking to and what they’re posting.”