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Children’s Use of Internet-Enabled Devices 

Smartphones and other internet-enabled devices like smartphones, ipods, tablets and gaming consoles have become part of everyday life for many people and as a result many children are receiving their first device at a younger age than ever before.

Giving your child their first internet-enabled device can be daunting. While it can be a great way to keep in contact, it can also bring worries about who they are talking to, what they are watching and who they are texting.  

At what age should I give my child their own internet-enabled device?

Helping Your Child Keep Safe Online

One of the main concerns a parent has regarding their child’s online life is the potential exposure to inappropriate content online.  Having access to such a vast array of content can be hugely beneficial but it can be a real challenge for parents in terms of managing any potential risks.  And while there are some potential risks there are also many things you as a parent can do to safeguard your child while they are online.

Talking Makes Us Stronger - Online Safety campaign

ISPCC Childline, in partnership with the Vodafone Ireland Foundation, has developed the Talking Makes Us Stronger campaign to show children that it helps to talk, should they encounter anything online which upsets or concerns them. 

Check out the campaign here. 

Screen time for children and young people

There are many views as to what is appropriate but a good starting point is to consider what you as the parent feel is too much and why.

It’s important to consider your child’s usage in the context of how it impacts their life. How much does your child rely on their devices – have you experienced a tantrum when trying to take a tablet from a young child, or have you noticed your teenager spending hours on Instagram or Snapchat?  

Young people and sexting

What is Sexting?

Sexting is when someone sends sexually explicit pictures of themselves or others via a mobile phone, email or the web.

Young people often refer to these images as ‘nudes’. 

These pictures can include sexual, naked or semi-naked images or videos of themselves or others, or sending sexually explicitly-worded messages.

These messages or pictures can be sent using mobiles, tablets, smartphones, laptops – any device that allows you to share media and messages.

Helping to Keep Children and Young People Safe Online

Technology (and the internet) brings many great benefits, from assisting with education to socialising with friends. It also, however, carries risks which can put children and young people in danger.

It also, however, carries risks which can put children and young people in danger. 

Parents need to be aware of the dark side of the internet – which can feature cyber bullying, loss of privacy and, at the extreme end, online grooming. Children and young people are taught about road safety and stranger danger and online safety is equally as important.

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