Irish children spending over five hours a day online

This is more than treble the recommended amount

Irish children spending over five hours a day online

Image: Jan Haas/DPA/PA Images

Research recently commissioned last month reveals that Irish children are spending almost half their day online.

A recent study by iKydz, Adolescent obesity and related behaviours: trends and inequalities in the WHO European Region 2002-2004, sites the recommended guideline of no more than two hours per day of recreational screen time.

This means Irish children are almost trebling the recommended guidelines according to the survey carried out on 1,100 homes in Ireland.

So what are our children doing online?

Survey results show that YouTube was the most popular site visited by children with almost a quarter of children online visiting the site or using the app.

The main social media sites - such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Whatsapp and Snapchat - account for almost 63% of children’s online usage during April 2017. 

The most popular sites include:

  • YouTube - 23%
  • Facebook - 22%
  • Instagram - 14%
  • Twitter - 10%
  • Whatsapp - 9%
  • Snapchat - 8%
  • Netflix - 5%
  • Amazon - 4%
  • Xbox Live - 3%
  • EA Games - 2%

Parents' concerns

Over 18% of parents said the amount of time their children were spending online was a concern. However, fears of exposure to inappropriate content came out on top at 18.3%/

A lack of sleep caused by overuse concerned 14% of parents surveyed, while worries about how internet usage distrats from study came in at just over 9%.

Reaction

Commenting on the launch of the report, Fine Gael TD and Chair of the Oireachtas Children and Youth Affairs Committee Jim Daly said: "I am confident that I am not alone in thinking the results of the report is quite startling".

"The report clearly outlines the concerns that parents have including access to inappropriate content at a very young age and as a Government we need to address those concerns by making the internet a more child friendly place to be where possible.”

John Molloy, founder of iKydz said: “An average time of 5.5 hours per day being spent online by Irish children is extremely high and it is important that parents are aware of this and can have conversations with their children around managing their time spent online.

"The internet is a fantastic resource however it is important that there is a balance in children’s and teenager’s lives when it comes to time spent online versus other offline activities."

The iKydz Internet Usage Index (IIU Index) is updated on a monthly basis and available to view on the iKydz website. For further information visit www.ikydz.com.