Irish children are spending over five hours a day online
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Irish children are spending over five hours a day online

CHILDREN in Ireland are spending an average of over five hours online each day, new research has found.

A new obesity and behaviour study by iKydz shows that YouTube, Facebook and Instagram are the most popular sites among Irish kids.

Current European guidelines recommend a limit of two hours per day of recreational screen use.

This means Irish children are using devices almost three times more than the recommended guidelines, according to the survey of 1,100 homes in Ireland.

Around 18 per cent of parents said the amount of time their children were spending online was a concern.

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However, fears of exposure to inappropriate content came top, with 18.3 per cent of Irish parents worrying that their children might come across something unsuitable online.

A lack of sleep caused by overuse was the third biggest worry for the parents surveyed at 14 per cent.

John Molloy, founder of iKydz said: “An average time of 5.5 hours per day being spent online by Irish children is extremely high and it is important that parents are aware of this and can have conversations with their children around managing their time spent online.

"The internet is a fantastic resource however it is important that there is a balance in children’s and teenager’s lives when it comes to time spent online versus other offline activities."

A similar study published earlier this year found that British children are spending more time online than almost any other developed country in the world.

The study – which surveyed 540,000 pupils aged 15 from around the world – also found that British children are less satisfied with life than children from Ireland.

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Here are the sites Irish children are visiting most online:

1. YouTube - 23%
2. Facebook - 22%
3. Instagram - 14%
4. Twitter - 10%
5. Whatsapp - 9%
6. Snapchat - 8%
7. Netflix - 5%
8. Amazon - 4%
9. Xbox Live - 3%
10. EA Games - 2%