In a world where each day brings a new app or exciting piece of technology for our children to discover, it can be difficult for us as parents and teachers to keep an eye on their every online move. However, a new study has shown why increased vigilance is vital – even among our very young children.


According to a report published this week, one in five children in first class have spoken to, or interacted with a stranger online.


The shocking finding was part of a report carried out by Zeeko, an Irish start-up company set up to help parents and authority figures teach children about online safety. The study was launched to investigate children’s online experiences, and involved 2,300 kids aged six to 12 years.



If the statistics regarding our first class students were alarming, then you might want to prepare yourself for the findings made regarding sixth class students. According to the study, by their final year of primary school over half (54%) of students had experienced cyber-bullying, while over a third (34%) had spoken with, or interacted with a stranger online.


The study also looked at the amount of time our young ones are spending in front of a tablet or computer screen, and the results prove that we need to focus our attention on mixing up our children’s activities on a daily basis. The Zeeko study showed that, out of the first class students surveyed, 15% were spending a staggering five hours or more in front of a screen.


Commenting on the findings, Zeeko founder Joe Kenny expressed his own concern: “Some of the results of this report indicate that children as young as six and seven are creating their own online digital relationships by interacting with strangers online. This should be of concern to parents and educators."


He went on to urge parents and teachers alike to be vigilant and educate children about the dangers of the worldwide web: “The internet is a great resource and has enormous potential in the education setting as we know, however, there are also many risks online especially for children.”