CyberSafeKids & National Parents Council Launch ‘Same Rules Apply’ Campaign
- 50% of children surveyed said they ‘spend too much time online’
- 30% of children said they can ‘go online whenever they want’
- 22% had seen something online in the last year that they ‘wouldn’t want their parents to know about’
(Source: CyberSafeKids survey of 1600 8-12 yr olds from Sept 2022 – Jan 2023)
Ireland’s online safety charity, CyberSafeKids, has joined forces with the National Parents Council to launch its ‘Same Rules Apply’ campaign today as part of Safer Internet Day. #SameRulesApply is an online safety parental awareness campaign, which highlights the need to approach parenting our children online in the same way that we approach parenting them offline.
Devised with the National Parents Council, CyberSafeKids has created a video which challenges the arbitrary distinction between ‘offline’ and ‘online’ worlds, asking “As parents, we’d never allow this to happen offline, so why allow it online? Giving your child unsupervised access to the online world means you’re also giving the online world unsupervised access to your child. Remember, online or offline, Same Rules Apply.” The campaign also includes an interactive, digital parenting guide in association with the Irish Examiner.
Sponsored by Accenture, the campaign emphasises that the same parenting rules should apply in the online world as apply in the offline world.
According to CyberSafeKids latest survey of over 1,600 8–12-year-olds between September 2022 and January 2023 released today; 30% of children can ‘go online whenever they want’, 22% have seen content online that they ‘wouldn’t want their parents to know about’. A quarter (25%) of children said they were ‘not allowed online before bedtime’ and 3% of children said they are ‘never allowed to go online’.
Some positive findings from the survey included: 43% said they were ‘not allowed to chat or game with strangers’. Over half (56%) said they were not allowed to add ‘friends I don’t know’ and almost a third (29%) said they were ‘allowed online at certain times’. When compared by gender, we found that a higher percentage of boys than girls had no rules in place for going online (24% vs. 14% of girls).
There were some interesting responses to how the children view their online life demonstrating a high level of self-awareness for such a young age:
- Half (50%) told us that they felt they ‘spend too much time online’ vs. 42% who said that they don’t spend too much time online
- A quarter (25%) said that they ‘find it hard to switch off from games and apps’ which is consistent with our last survey
- 22% said that they ‘waste a lot of time online’
Speaking about the campaign and latest survey results, Alex Cooney, CEO, CyberSafeKids, said;
“We wanted the #SameRulesApply campaign to give parents and carers of children some pause for thought with regards to how we parent our children’s digital lives. Our main concern is around unsupervised access – in places like bedrooms, with doors shut; this can leave them vulnerable to stumbling across highly inappropriate content or being contacted by strangers – in a place that should be safe and protected. Worryingly, only 18% of the 8-12 yr olds surveyed said they ‘weren’t allowed devices in their bedroom.
Whilst 41% of children said that going online was ‘mostly positive’ we could ask, what kind of online experience are the rest (59%) having? Our advice to parents is to have ongoing conversations with your children about their online lives, and to regularly monitor what they’re seeing and doing online. We need a shift in mindset on how we approach the challenges of parenting online, which is why we’re launching this campaign today.”
National Parents Council CEO, Áine Lynch said:
“#SameRulesApply campaign hopes to make parents stop and think about how they parent their children in the digital world. We also hope that parents see that by looking for parallels and comparisons between the online world and the offline world that they already have rules in place and parenting skills that they can apply. Parenting in this digital age can feel overwhelming and sometimes scary. However, parents should reassure themselves that by working on having a good open relationship with their children and by ensuring that they listen to their children when they talk about the big things and the small things, they are doing the most important thing to keep their children safe.”
Dr. Colman Noctor, Child & Adolescent Psychoanalytical Psychotherapist added:
“The irony of today’s world is that our physical communities have never been smaller and our virtual communities have never been bigger. We feel anxious about our 13 year olds using public transport but we feel ok about giving them an unregulated portal to the outside world. We need to pay more attention to our children’s online world and teach them how to navigate the online world safely.”
CyberSafeKids is asking for a fundamental societal change to support children online. The burden of responsibility to support children shouldn’t fall on parents alone. We need a much stronger focus on education so that the conversation around risks and opportunities online continues from the home and is supported in school. We also insist that online services – gaming and social media platforms – take their responsibilities regarding child users far more seriously, and we want legal frameworks that mandate this.
In addition to the short film, the #SameRulesApply campaign comprises of;
- ‘Digital Parenting: Keeping your Kids Safe Online’: an interactive Digital Parenting guide to help parents provide the support and care their children need to navigate the online world safely (in association with the Irish Examiner).
- Digital Parenting Event (online): 1pm, Tuesday 28th February, 2023
Alex Cooney, CEO, CyberSafeKids, Áine Lynch, CEO, National Parents Council and Dr. Colman Noctor, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapist will join Irene Feighan, Feelgood Editor, Irish Examiner to discuss the challenges, opportunities and risks facing parenting in the Digital Age, with an introduction from Jacky Fox, Accenture’s Managing Director, Security CTO.
The #SameRulesApply campaign is accessible here: www.cybersafekids.ie/samerulesapply
Feb 15, 2023
CyberSafeKids is an Irish charity, which has been empowering children, parents, schools and businesses to navigate the online world in a safer and more responsible way since 2015.