As the Safer Internet Ireland Project today launches the Irish EU Kids Online survey, the ISPCC, as partners of the project, reminds parents and young people to be vigilant when using the internet.
The ISPCC is aware from our Childline services that a large proportion of children who contact the service do so through their mobile phone or online. Through our Childline Online service we are connecting everyday with children using media that they feel comfortable with. The EU Kids Online survey found that just over half of Irish children asked say they use the internet every day or almost every day, with Irish young people also being some of the most likely in Europe to access the internet using a handheld device (e.g. mobile phone).
While accessing the internet can be a wholly positive experience for the majority of children, there is still a need to issue a safety warning and parents must be cautious, aware and always communicate with their children about internet safety.
The EU Kids Online survey findings indicate that children in Ireland are amongst the most responsible users of social networking web sites; they are the least likely to publish their address or phone number on the profile. In addition, parental involvement is particularly evident in Ireland with 93% of all parents practising some form of mediation.
While these results are a positive reflection of child-parent co-operation when it comes to internet safety, it is important not to become complacent. Last year, Childline Online launched the “Safe Click Code” – a guide to staying safe online to offer tips and support to both parents and young people, to ensure safety while online.
Tips for Parents on safer internet use:
- Be aware of and use internet safety tools
- Communicate openly with children about their internet use
- Discover the internet together
- Agree rules for internet use
- Encourage your child to be careful when disclosing personal information
- Allow space for your child to discuss events and concerns regarding their online experiences
- Talk about the risks of meeting an online friend face to face
- Don’t be too critical of your child’s web browsing
- Report illegal online material to the Gardaí or to www.hotline.ie
- Encourage good ‘netiquette’
- Know your child’s net use
- Remember that the positive aspects of the internet outweigh the negatives
Tips for young people:
- Don’t give out personal information online
- Use only a first name or nickname to identify yourself
- Never send photographs of yourself
- Never agree to meet someone you met online without supervision
If you are being bullied online or by mobile phone it’s important to:
- Save the evidence
- Tell an adult
- Don’t respond to the bully
- Block the bully; if the harassment is coming in the form of instant messages, texts, or profile comments, use preferences or privacy tools to block the person, if it’s in chat, leave the “room.”
Margie Roe, National Childline Manager, today said; “We are heartened to see that parents and children in Ireland do appear to be approaching the internet in a safe and vigilant manner, however it is imperative that we as adults continue to communicate openly and educate our young people on the importance of staying safe online. Last year the ISPCC consulted with over 15,000 young people in Ireland, asking about their internet use and online experiences. We look forward to publishing and learning from the findings later this year.”