We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.


Pornography is no longer the biggest online worry for parents

A new survey has found that three in ten parents don’t monitor their children’s online activities.

ADULT PORNOGRAPHY IS no longer the top concern for parents regarding their children’s safety online.

‘Exposure to dangerous people’ is now the biggest worry for parents, a nationwide survey has found.

The research, which was conducted by the Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland, questioned 1,000 people, 380 of which were parents (53% were female and 47% were male).

32% of parents surveyed listed exposure to dangerous individuals as their biggest concern, up from 12% in a similar survey conducted thirteen years ago.

In the 2001 survey, adult pornography ranked as the biggest worry. In this year’s research, it has fallen into second place. The percentage of parents giving it their first concern vote has dropped by over half – from 44% of parents in 2001 to just 20% in 2014.

Cyber bullying

Anti-social behaviour and cyber bullying ranked as the third most worrisome issue, with 16% of number one votes (up from 6% in 2001).

Paul Durrant, CEO of ISPAI and General Manager of (a confidential online platform where people can anonymously report suspected illegal material), said he was “really surprised” that online bullying didn’t rank as the number one concern.

“So many children [are] victim to texting and social media bullying in every community,” Durrant commented.

When asked if “the positive aspects of Internet use outweigh the negatives” 64% of parents and 75% of all respondents agreed with the statement. The same question was asked 13 years ago, when 61% of parents agreed.

Durrant said it was “notable that these percentages 13 years apart are so close”.

In terms of technological innovation and online resources, 2001 is equivalent to the Prehistoric Era of the internet. Social networks as such didn’t exist. One would assume that general usage is very different now – especially amongst children.

Parental supervision

Over 40% of all parents surveyed said they do not use any parental control software and three in ten don’t monitor their children’s online activities at all.

Six in ten of the parents questioned don’t use parental control software for Smartphones.

Despite this, 74% of all respondents selected ‘parents’ as the group with primary responsibility for protecting children online.

“Parents could do much more than just be concerned, they need to engage with their children and teach good behaviour on the internet, just as they would teach them for the real world,” Durrant said.

The other issues regarding children’s use of the internet ranked by respondents in order of lessening concern were: access to violent material; neglecting offline activities; sharing inappropriate content among themselves; spending too much time on social networks; using location based services; spending too much time playing online games and lastly, exposure to advertising.

Read: One in ten students have cyberbullied another

Read: Child pornography ring used social networks to lure 251 victims

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.