In brief

The EU Kids Online team in Ireland, in conjunction with Ireland’s National Advisory Council for Online Safety, have published findings of a national survey of children, their parents and adults regarding online safety.

The research which was conducted over the course of the last year replicates the 2020 EU Kids Online survey and also includes a new survey of adults’ experiences of risks and safety online.  Overall, this research provides a comprehensive overview of how people in Ireland, particularly children, aged 9 -17, access and use the internet, and maps their online practices, skills, online risks and opportunities. The research also examines how children and parents work together to deal with any risks.

 Some key findings are:

  • most children are positive about the Internet and say there are good elements for their age. 44% say this is very true and 39% say it is fairly true;
  • 62% of children and young people, aged 9-17 year, use social media. This rises from a quarter of 9–10-year-olds to nearly 90% of 15–17-year-olds;
  • people being nasty to each other (24%) and bullying (22%) stand out as the most mentioned issues that upset young people. A quarter of all girls (26%) listed people being nasty to each other as the issue that most frequently upsets them;
  • children and their parents or carers have different perceptions of children’s experiences. For example, 53% of parents say they help their child when something bothers them on the Internet. This contrasts with 19% of children who report telling a parent about issues that have upset them online;
  • 82% of parents or carers say that they would most prefer to receive online safety information from the child’s school with 60% currently receiving information this way;
  • for adults, being contacted by strangers or someone they didn’t know is the most reported problem encountered online. This is reported by 13% of adults overall. 8% say this happens at least every month and 3% at least every week.

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Fieldwork was carried out by IPSOS MRBI between December 2019 and October 2020, both before and after COVID-19 restrictions began. A total of 765 children, 765 parents/carers and, separately, 387 adults were interviewed. Data will now be merged with the 2020 EU Kids Online study to create a dataset of online risks and opportunities in 20 countries.

Results from the previous EU Kids Online survey in Ireland can be found under “Publications.”

Ireland - EU Kids Online Ireland - EU Kids Online


  • EU Kids Online findings have informed a number of policy initiatives, including the formation of a government task force on internet safety. EU Kids Online has been used as reference data by the Office for Internet Safety and the Safer Internet Ireland project,
  • Brian O'Neill is a member of the Internet Safety Advisory Committee which acts as a multi-stakeholder forum within the Office for Internet Safety. He also chaired the Internet Content Governance Advisory Group reporting to the Minister for Communications on future arrangements for internet safety and governance.
  • EU Kids Online participated in the Government of Ireland’s Open Policy Debate in 2018 to inform a national Action Plan on Online Safety.

Reports and resources



Brian O’Neill is Director of Research, Enterprise and Innovation at Technological University Dublin. His research focuses on the policy context for children in the digital environment. His research focuses on young people’s use of digital technologies, online safety and policy for the digital environment. He has undertaken research for the European Commission, UNICEF, the Council of Europe, the Ombudsman for Children’s Office and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland on topics of media literacy, child rights and information society technologies.  As well as leading policy development as a member of the EU Kids Online, he is a member of Ireland's National Advisory Council for Online Safety and chaired the Irish government’s task force on Internet Content Governance. He chairs the Steering Group for Media Literacy Ireland, a multi-stakeholder initiative supported by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. In 2018, he contributed to the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) 10 country study on “Youth, digitalisation and gender equality”.   With the Hans Bredow Institut, Insafe and members of the EU Kids Online network, he leads the BIK-Map project, mapping policies in European Member States for a better internet for children. The most recent version of the Better Internet for Kids Policy Map was published in 2018. 

GRACIA - picture

Pablo Gracia is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Trinity College Dublin. His research focuses on families and inequalities. He is currently studying how young people’s engagement with digital technologies relates to multiple wellbeing outcomes. He is the PI of projects funded by the European Commission, the Irish Research Council and Enterprise Ireland, and the Irish leading partner of DIGYMATEX, a large international project funded by the H2020 EU programme. Dr Gracia is author of over 25 scientific publications, including peer-reviewed publications in journals like the European Sociological Review, the Journal of Marriage and Family, New, Media & Society and Social Science Research, one book published with Polity Press (Wiley) and book chapters with publishers like SAGE and Edward Elgar.

Tijana Milosevic

Tijana Milosevic is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Elite-S research fellow jointly appointed with Dublin City University’s Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre (ABC) and ADAPT SFI, focusing on artificial intelligence-based cyberbullying interventions on social media platforms and their policies, digital media and the implications for children’s wellbeing. Tijana is the PI on a Facebook-funded project looking into proactive cyberbullying moderation on Instagram and Facebook; and she is also working on the European Commission's Joint Research Centre's Kids' Digital Lives in Covid Times project. She previously worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Media and Communication at the University of Oslo. Tijana’s written a monograph on social media platforms’ anti-bullying interventions (Protecting Children Online? Cyberbullying Policies of Social Media Companies, MIT Press 2018). Her works have appeared in the Journal of Children and MediaThe International Journal of Communication and New Media & Society, among others. She holds a PhD in Communication from American University’s School of Communication; and an MA in Media and Public Affairs from the School of Media and Public Affairs, both in Washington DC, where she studied and worked for six years. 


Thuy Dinh is Senior Research Assistant at Centre for Social and Educational Research, Dublin Institute of Technology. She holds a PhD in Sociology from University of Essex, UK (2009) where she studied the pattern of maternity care in impoverished socio-economic settings. She has been engaged with various research projects related to children, families and communities in Asia and Europe in last 15 years. In the last six years, she worked on a number of European projects through the “Digital Childhoods” program at the CSER, including exploration of children’s use of the internet, identifying patterns of use, as well as potential risks and opportunities technology provides. In 2016, she led a study commissioned by European Schoolnet (EUN) with support of the Kaspersky Helpline Fund of Insafe Helplines, Operations, effectiveness and emerging issues for internet safety helplines.



Dinh, T., & O’Neill, B. (2019). Parental Mediation And The Internet: Findings Of Net Children Go Mobile For Parents’ Mediation Strategies In Ireland Mediazione Dei Genitori E Internet: Risultati Di Net Children Go Mobile Per Le Strategie Di Mediazione Dei Genitori In Irlanda, Media Education 10(1), 24–40.

O’Neill, B., & Dinh, T. (2018). The Better Internet for Kids Policy Map: Implementing the European Strategy for a Better Internet for Children in European Member States. Brussels, European Schoolnet.

O’Neill, B., & Dinh, T. (2017). The EU Kids Online Project: the importance of large scale, cross-national research. In L. Corcoran & C. McGuckin (Eds.), Bullying and cyberbullying : prevalence, psychological impacts and intervention strategies. New York: Nova Science Publishers.

Farrugia, L., Grehan, S., & O’Neill, B. (2017). Webwise 2017 Parenting Survey. Dublin.

Dinh, T., Farrugia, L., O’Neill, B., Vandoninck, S., & Velicu, A. (2016). Insafe Helplines: Operations, effectiveness and emerging issues for internet safety helplines. Brussels. 

O’Neill, B. (2016). A National multi-facetted Approach to Prevent and Address Bullying and Cyberbullying.In M. S. Pais (Ed.), Ending the torment: tackling bullying from the schoolyard to cyberspace. New York: United Nations: Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children.


Brian O’Neill

Research, Enterprise and Innovation Services
Technological University Dublin
Dublin 7