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88% of Irish parents worry about the content their children could see online, according to new Vodafone Ireland study

20 July 2022
A woman and a boy holding a tablet and the Secure Net shield logo.
  • 69% of children use connected devices daily, and just under two-thirds (62%) are online for 1 to 3 hours per day.
  • 57% of parents frequently restrict their children’s online access, such as turning off internet connections or restricting websites.
  • 8 in 10 state they are anxious about their child meeting strangers online and 66% are worried about exposure to explicit content.
  • Almost half (45%) of the Irish public have fallen victim to a virus on their device in the past year, with a further 36% experiencing two to three virus attacks in the last 12 months.
  • Research study conducted for the launch of Vodafone Secure Net, a new digital protection product available in-and-out of the home with parental tools to help manage time spent online, safely.


18th July 2022 : To mark the launch of Secure Net, a new digital protection product, Vodafone Ireland has conducted a national study into the Irish public’s concerns and behaviours around online safety and security. The nationwide survey found that many of us are not as comfortable online as we would like to be, with two-thirds (66%) admitting they are concerned about their online safety and do not feel confident in how to protect themselves.  

With children and young people increasingly living life online, the onus on parents and guardians to be informed and empowered is a constant concern. According to the research of 750 parents of children aged 4 - 14, 69% of children use connected devices daily, and just under two-thirds (62%) are online for 1 to 3 hours per day. Secure Net features parental tools, such as content filtering, pause and focus time to help parents manage children’s time on devices. The product seamlessly connects and works with all devices and operating systems on Vodafone’s mobile and broadband network – protecting people in-and-out of the home.

The research found that nearly nine out of ten (88%) Irish parents worry about the content their child could be seeing online and 47% are troubled by a lack of control over their internet use. The reasons for parents’ concerns are varied,* with 80% concerned about their children being exposed to strangers online, 66% fearful of explicit content, and just over half (52%) worried that their children might unwittingly fall victim to a cyber-attack or online virus. The study also reveals that over half (57%) of Irish parents frequently restrict online access through parental controls or by manually turning on and off internet connections. A further 53% of parents feel that it is it hard for their child to focus on schoolwork when they have access to other online platforms.            

To help alleviate parents’ concerns, Secure Net allows parents to manage the content on their children’s devices through the new app and/or online portal. Parents can select appropriate content categories to filter access based on the child’s age, limit their time online, pause or schedule access and restrict some content, like social media, during homework or focus time and switch off access later, when it is time for bed.

Digital protection is becoming increasingly important as the frequency of cyber-attacks continues to rise. According to this research, almost half (45%) of Irish people fell victim to an online virus in the past year, while a further 36% experienced two to three viruses, including spyware, trojans and botnet malware in the last 12 months. Of those who experienced online attacks, 43% were hacked, 22% had their data stolen and 12% suffered financial loss. Secure Net offers the unique proposition of digital protection by scanning, detecting, and removing malicious content on connected devices, both inside and outside of the home **.

Claire Reynolds, Head of Consumer Marketing Segments, Vodafone Ireland said “At Vodafone, we are committed to making life easier for our customers by giving them access to the latest technology and innovations to protect them and their family online. Our research shows many parents and guardians are worried and don’t feel informed when it comes to protecting their children online. We are delighted to provide technology that allows parents more control over their children’s activity and accessibility with features such as focus time, content filtering, pause and bedtime.

The unique in-and-out of home protection offering with Secure Net gives customers more confidence that time online is spent safely and that children and loved ones are not being exposed to unsuitable content, phishing scams and other attacks on their devices.

For those feeling overwhelmed and looking for more information and guidance The Digital Ready Hub, developed by ISPCC and the Vodafone Ireland Foundation, is an always- on resource which provides articles, downloadable tips and guides and videos on topics including digital resilience and empathy; digital platforms and devices; online risks and cyberbullying, security and privacy.’’


ISPCC Childline Chief Executive, John Church added: “Technology and the internet are almost fully embedded in our children’s lives today. As a result, they have few opportunities to switch off completely. It’s important that children and young people, with the support of their parents and caregivers, talk about the best way to ensure that they are safe online. This interaction could involve conversations about managing the type of content they engage with and about setting time limits for internet access.”

Available as an add-on to both new and existing customers from 18^th^ July 2022, Secure Net is available both inside and outside of the home.

  1. ** Secure Net at Home: At €2.99 per month, Vodafone customers can avail of Secure Net protection for fixed broadband lines. It includes parental controls** and protects all devices connected to internet via the Vodafone Home Wi-Fi or directly connected by cable to the modem.
  2. ** Secure Net On the Go: At €0.99 per month per mobile line, Secure Net protects the device that is connected to the Vodafone mobile network.

For more information, visit

For more information on keeping children safe online, go to ISPCC’s Digital Parenting Hub .



Note to Editors:

  • Parents other reasons for concern
  • 46% - Not being aware of how they use the internet
  • 35% - Their information may become public via a data leak
  • 32% - Their digital footprint may be a disadvantage in the future
  • 26% - They could lose money to hackers or scams


    • Parental control service is limited to Secure Net at Home offer for €2.99 per month, but is available for Secure Net on the go if both add-ons are purchased





Extra data on children’s time online

Parents surveyed confirmed that just over three-quarters (76%) of the content children are accessing is for entertainment reasons, 64% for gaming, just over a quarter (28%) of children’s device use is for reading and 40% of children’s time online is for e-learning. The benefits that parents acknowledge in their child owning a connected device is that 47% of parents are happy that their child can keep in contact while away from the home; just over half of those surveyed  (56%) also appreciate that their child has access to online learning and schoolwork.

Extra data on Irish people’s devices

The study revealed that 96% of Irish people have a smartphone, there are gaming consoles in over half (51%) of households in the country, three-quarters of the population (74%) have a laptop, 46% of people wear a smartwatch, with just over a quarter (27%) of Irish households owning a desktop computer.

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