The charity is calling for a 24-hour “cyber break” as a quarter of Irish children say they waste a lot of time online

87 per cent of Irish children aged eight to 12 use social media and messaging apps despite being under the age of 13, new research has found.

A survey conducted by Ireland’s online safety organization CyberSafeKids asked more than 3,150 children aged eight to 13 about their online habits.

The charity is encouraging families to take a 24-hour break from all smart devices starting at 5 p.m. today.

Forty-two percent of the children surveyed said their parents believe they spend too much time online.

Of the children surveyed, 95 percent own a smart device, 28 percent felt they spend too much time online, and 25 percent said they waste a lot of time online.

Although 44 percent of kids said spending time online was mostly a positive experience, 27 percent said they had a hard time switching off their devices.

Children spend most of their time online playing games (39 percent), while 22 percent mainly watch videos on sites like YouTube.

17 percent of kids surveyed said they spend most of their time on social media apps like Snapchat and TikTok while online.

Almost the same percentage of eight-year-olds (17 percent) use messaging apps like WhatsApp and iMessage as 12-year-olds (18 percent) and 13-year-olds (19 percent).

Young girls spend a higher proportion of their time using social media (25 percent), watching YouTube videos (24 percent) and chatting with friends (19 percent), while boys spend their time playing online games much more often (61 percent percent compared to 19 percent).

Only 3 percent of respondents use their time online to create things in apps like iMovie and Photoshop, while only 3 percent use it to look up information for homework.

Child psychotherapist Colman Noctor said children are being exposed to too much online and social media and gaming companies need to take more responsibility for it.

“We need to shift that accent. The technology isn’t going anywhere, we just need to get better at taking back control of how much time we spend online and calling on the gaming and social media companies to use opaque practices to get our attention,” he said he.

CyberSafeKids wants families to participate in its third annual 24-hour “cyber break” starting at 5 p.m. today. The charity is calling for a 24-hour “cyber break” as a quarter of Irish children say they waste a lot of time online

Fry Electronics Team

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