3 October 2019
The survey will be carried out by Ipsos MRBI on behalf of the National Advisory Council for Online Safety (NACOS), and will cover a nationally-representative sample of children and their parents/guardians along with a sample of the general adult population. With an overall sample size of 2,500 people, the survey is the most comprehensive of its kind to ever be undertaken in the State.
The objectives of the new primary research are:
- To describe the demographic profile of internet users in Ireland,
- To determine how internet users in Ireland (children, parents, adults) use and access the internet and their digital skills,
- To estimate the prevalence of online risks and abuse experienced by internet users,
- To identify opportunities and benefits obtained through the use of the internet,
- To identify the safety practices of adults and children when using the internet, and,
- To identify how parents moderate the use of the internet by their children.
It is envisaged that the findings of the survey will contribute to and inform policy decisions around the development of a safer internet environment for all.
Minister of State Canney commented: "I welcome the commencement of a national survey of internet users and acknowledge the work that has been undertaken in the design of the survey. This research is of vital importance as part of our drive to promote a safer online environment for all citizens. One of the key objectives of the National Advisory Council for Online Safety is to develop an evidence base to inform its work and its advice to Government and I expect that the findings of the survey will go a long way to ensuring that this aim is achieved."
Notes to Editor
Further information on the Survey
The survey comprises three distinct strands, with tailored questionnaires administered to each of the three categories (children, parents, adults).
A key advantage of this survey is its similarity with surveys in other Member States, which will facilitate comparison with developments across the EU. A further advantage is that the survey will serve as a benchmark for future surveys carried out in Ireland, as prior research in the area varied widely in terms of comparability and sample size.
The contract to undertake the survey was awarded to Ipsos MRBI following a public procurement process. It is expected that fieldwork for the survey will be completed by the end of Q2 2020.
Action Plan for Online Safety
The Action Plan for Online Safety was published in July 2018, and was drawn up following engagement with a wide range of stakeholders, including at an Open Policy Debate hosted by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment in March 2018.
It contains 25 targeted actions and seeks to balance the opportunities and benefits provided by the internet with the need to ensure that people are informed and supported to deal with online risks.
National Advisory Council for Online Safety
As part of the Action Plan for Online Safety, the Government established the National Advisory Council for Online Safety (NACOS), a forum for non-governmental, industry and academic stakeholders.
The Council has 20 members and a chairperson (Minister of State Seán Canney). The membership of the Council is drawn from children's and parents' organisations, major online platforms, and experts on online safety issues.
The Council's role is as follows:
- To provide advice to Government on online safety issues,
- To identify emerging issues where Government intervention might be needed,
- To help in the creation of clear and easy to understand online safety guidance materials for all internet users, and,
- To examine national and international research and communicate key findings to Government, stakeholders and the wider public.