Irish kids at increased risk of cyber predators this summer, warns safety expert
There are increased concerns of kids leaving a "digital footprint" that could follow them in later life.
A safety expert has urged parents in Ireland to keep an extra close eye on their kids' internet activity now that they are off school and have increased screen time.
CyberSafeKids chief Alex Cooney says kids are being exposed to inappropriate and explicit content online and risk being groomed by predators during their summer holidays.
Speaking to the Irish Sunday Mirror, she said: "Anything is available at the click of a button so parents need to be very mindful and have conversations about it.
"You are talking about porn, horror stuff, extreme violence, drugs, everything is there."
Ms Cooney added that data shows a "significant increase" in risks of grooming and extortion for children.
Parents are thereby urged to warn their children to only communicate with people they know in real life online and to be aware of stranger danger on the web.
"We would be warning of kids sharing too much information. It could be their name, age, where they go to school, live," she said.
"Unthinkingly they could be contributing to that digital footprint and that might affect them in later life."
Ms Cooney also said that cyber-bullying is an issue faced by many children online between being excluded from chats to being subjected to cruel comments, but that it's important for parents to recognise the benefits the web has provided to kids for socialising during the pandemic.