Children put at risk online: Parents facing a huge challenge

Children put at risk online: Parents facing a huge challenge

Today’s parents are the first to have to consider the prospect that their children might spend more time with strangers online than they are spending with them. Those same parents, more than likely already feeling guilty that the obligations of sustaining a family make time with that family almost a novelty, have been warned that it is “incredibly important” they know who their children are speaking to online.

Even if that seems advice from the Ladybird Book of Parenting, it is all too relevant, as research established that a fifth of children aged between 8 and 10 and a quarter of 12- year-olds are talking to strangers online every day.

This Cyber Safe Ireland finding makes the old advice offered to children who walked to school — “don’t talk to strangers, don’t take sweets from strangers” — seem impossibly quaint.

There is nothing quaint, however, about the finding, after engaging with nearly 4,000 children, that 36% of eight-year-old boys and 43% of 10-year-old boys, are playing over-18s games and are exposed to violent and sexual content inappropriate for their age.

It is not difficult — or sanctimonious or prudish — to imagine that this undermines the work being done to make respect the foundation of all relationships be they personal or on a wider plane.

This report, and so many others like it, warns again that we have little or no understanding of the power, of the addictive qualities of personal screens. Let’s hope we reach that point before it is too late.

More on this topic

Court orders internet providers to block illegal streaming of live football matches from next monthCourt orders internet providers to block illegal streaming of live football matches from next month

The net minders: How would policing the internet work?The net minders: How would policing the internet work?

Early to rise: Three young Irish influencers making their mark onlineEarly to rise: Three young Irish influencers making their mark online

Bird’s eye: Why we’re hooked on animal videosBird’s eye: Why we’re hooked on animal videos

More in this Section

Dublin is no longer merely a countyDublin is no longer merely a county

#RWC2019: Euphoria and despair will meet in Japan#RWC2019: Euphoria and despair will meet in Japan

Climate Change: How many climate warnings do we need?Climate Change: How many climate warnings do we need?

Jim Daly: A hard career choiceJim Daly: A hard career choice


Lifestyle

Against popular wisdom and flying a plane made from bamboo, wire and bike handlebars, a Co Antrim woman blazed a sky trail for aviation and for the independence of women, writes Bette BrowneMagnificent Lilian Bland blazed a trail for independence of women in her plane of bamboo

The epic battle for the bridge at Arnhem, as depicted in the blockbuster 'A Bridge Too Far', saw the Allies aim to end the war by Christmas 1944, but failed as a huge airborne assault force failed to take the last bridge across the Rhine. In an extract from his latest book 'A Bloody Week', Dan Harvey tells the story of one of the hundreds of brave men from Ireland who gave their all to the Allied campaignThe bridge to war: Dan Harvey's new book looks at the Irish who went a bridge too far

More From The Irish Examiner