Minister concerned over children's 'net usage

Tuesday 29 July 2003 17.06
Minister concerned over children's 'net usage

Minister of State Brian Lenihan has expressed concern at the level of internet usage by children given the amount of paedophiles accessing the web.

He says more awareness is needed but added there are no immediate plans to regulate the industry in Ireland.

Mr Lenihan was speaking at the release of a report by the Internet Advisory Board and said surveys show that awareness of the dangers in Ireland is high compared to other countries.

Nearly 70% of parents claim to monitor their children while they surf the internet.

But the minister expressed concern at the fact that 54% of Irish children are allowed to talk to strangers in chat rooms.

Paul Durrant of the Internet Service Providers of Ireland, who runs a hotline that monitors the internet, says self regulation has prevented Ireland being used to broadcast child pornography.

He said the hotline receives around ten reports a month of suspect material that merit notification to other countries.

Mr Durrant said illegal internet use is an international problem and that unilateral regulation here would only serve to increase cost and harm the industry.