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80% of 8 to 10-year-olds own a device capable of accessing the internet, and 40% are talking to strangers online

Today is Safer Internet Day, with organisations working to raise awareness around how people can be more safe online.

Image: Shutterstock/Christopher Meder

ALMOST 80% of children aged between eight and 10 own a smart device with access to the internet, according to a new survey. 

The survey by CyberSafe Ireland also found that close to 40% of eight to 10-year-olds are speaking to strangers online, with 15% doing so every day. 

Today is Safer Internet Day, with organisations working to raise awareness around how people can be more safe online. 

CyberSafe Ireland – a charity set up in 2015 to provide advice to parents, teachers and children on how to use communication technologies safely – surveyed 1,200 children aged between eight and ten.

It found that 79% of those surveyed own a smart device capable of accessing the internet. Of these children (who are in 3rd to 5th class in school), 40% are talking to strangers online and many of them are playing over-18s video games. 

A total of 15% of children surveyed said they were communicating with strangers online in some capacity every day. 

Other figures 

The results of the survey show the important of online communication and platforms for young children in Ireland. 

Just under half (48%) of eight and nine-year-olds said they are using social media and messaging apps, while 60% of 10-year-olds are. 

The most popular apps among children in this age group are Snapchat, WhatsApp and TikTok (formerly Musical.ly). 

One in 10 children in this age group said that they spend over 4 hours a day online. In terms of gaming, one in four children said they had played an online game with a 18+ rating. 

Just over one in five (21%) of 8-year-olds said they have appeared in a YouTube video in which their face can be seen. 

Commenting on the results, Alex Cooney, CEO of CyberSafeIreland said that they showed that children are “actively engaged in the online world from a young age”.

“This is why we have launched a dedicated session for 3rd class this school year and it also why this Safer Internet Day, we have focused on developing a range of resources for parents of younger children, to help guide their decision-making around key issues like when to get that first device for their child,” he said.  

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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