Vodafone Ireland is helping parents to tackle the issue of online safety for children with a new portal that will provide information and resources to help parents keep their children safe on the internet.
The Digital Parenting Portal offers advice for parents, guardians and carers on how to broach online safety with their children and what they should be looking out for in terms of potential problems.
Around three quarters of Irish parents don't intervene in their child's online activity, citing a lack of confidence with technology and tackling problems, and disruption of the child's privacy. An online survey conducted by the National Anti-bullying Research and Resource Centre, DCU on behalf of the Vodafone Ireland Foundation in May found 46 per cent of parents seek advice from friends and family on how to keep children safe online but 35 per cent would prefer to go to online resources.
Almost half - 45 per cent - said they were unhappy with their child’s internet use.
Some 17 per cent said their child had a negative experience online.
“Our aim is to open up the conversation around online safety in Ireland, ensuring that parents and young people are fully equipped with the knowledge and confidence to navigate our increasingly digital society,” said Vodafone Ireland’s Liam O’Brien.
Recent research indicates that more education is needed about behaviour and risks online. A survey publised earlier this year by the charity Cyber Safe Ireland found 40 per cent of children aged between eight and 10 years were talking to strangers online, while 15 per cent of them were doing so on a daily basis.
The survey also showed the need to kickstart conversations, with more than a third of the eight to 10-year-olds said they rarely or never discussed online safety with their parents.
Vodafone’s new portal joins a number of other tools aimed at parents and guardians who may need help with tackling the issue of online bullying. Children’s charity Barnardos offers workshops on internet safety and cyberbullying, along with downloadable reseources for parents on online bullying.
Vodafone’s online portal also links to the ISPCC’s parent hub, and organisations such as Webwise and Cyber Safe Ireland are also involved in programmes to help educate young people and parents about the risks of being online.