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Just 40pc of parents have rules for children online

The “selfie” phenomenon is one of the biggest concerns parents have about their children’s safety online - but many still have no rules about internet use.

Oisin Byrne, CEO of the iReach group, said a new study it conducted revealed that 46pc of Irish children regularly take and post selfies online.

However, 60pc of parents admitted to disliking their children taking part in this activity.

“This study shows a generational gap emerging in the use of social media platforms, with children favouring newer platforms such as Viber and Instagram which have become significantly more popular amongst children (40pc) compared to their parents (26pc),” Mr Byrne said.

However, while 80pc of Irish parents are concerned about their child’s online activity, only 40pc of families have “active house rules” to protect their child from online or mobile phone threats, according to Mr Byrne.

Hotline

He revealed the results of the iReach survey, carried out for the Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland (IPSAI), at an event the association organised to spotlight the national and international efforts to combat child sexual abuse online.

Meanwhile, the event also heard details about the reports to Hotline.ie last year, which acts on reports about suspicious content online. It passes on pre-vetted suspicions to the gardai.

The number of reports which it received last year was 2,568.Some 185 of the reports assessed were deemed illegal, including one relating to child grooming, and 135 relating to child pornography.

In addition, 47 of the reports related to financial scams, and two related to racism.

Threats

“Only seven reports were traced to Ireland, demonstrating the global nature of the internet and the threats it can carry,” Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said.

She said that a report that was made to Hotline.ie “ultimately led to the removal in another jurisdiction of sizeable amounts of illegal child pornography content from the internet”.

The minister said that the case illustrates the value and significance of having reporting mechanisms in place to allow swift action to be taken.

fdillon@herald.ie


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