Irish adults no longer rate internet porn as greatest online risk to kids

24 Jun 20141 Share

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Internet pornography has fallen a place in rankings of parents’ biggest fears for children online in favour of “exposure to dangerous people”, according to the Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland (ISPAI).

The ISPAI study is the first of its kind in Ireland since the Government’s Internet Advisory Board undertook a similar study back in 2001, a time before many of the things that make up the internet today even existed, including social media, YouTube, video calls and, of course, fast mobile internet.

In the 2001 study, 44pc of parents indicated that children’s access to online pornography was their No 1 concern, but 13 years later, this has fallen by more than half, to 20pc.

Now, particularly with smartphones, a child’s potential exposure to dangerous people online is now parents' biggest worry. However, it appears that little has changed in terms of parents’ overall thoughts and levels of protection they have over their children online.

When asked during the survey if “the positive aspects of internet use outweigh the negatives”, 64pc of parents and 75pc of all respondents agreed with this, while the same question was asked 13 years ago shows little has changed, with 61pc of parents at that time agreeing.

Despite the fear surrounding children’s use of smartphones, 62pc of parents surveyed admitted they use no parental control software on phones whatsoever, while 30pc don’t monitor overall internet usage at all.

Paul Durrant, CEO of ISPAI and general manager of Hotline.ie, said most of the ‘downside issues’ of the internet are generated by the user.

"On its own, the internet can’t be either good or bad. 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.”

Child on internet image via Shutterstock

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Colm Gorey is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com