Zeeko Report Indicates Widespread Use of Mobile Devices by Primary School Children

Zeeko an Irish EdTech start-up which works to educate parents to teach their children to stay safe online has announced results of its second School Digital Trend Report. Zeeko is headquartered at NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at University College Dublin.

The digital trend report is based on the work carried out by Zeeko with parents and teachers in 2016. 4,439 primary school pupils completed a questionnaire about their internet use in 29 schools between September and November 2016. In addition Zeeko asked 913 guardians of primary school pupils in 55 schools between January and June 2016 to complete a similar questionnaire.

The questionnaire was developed by Zeeko for informal information gathering during its school visits, however, the trends observed give a snapshot of children’s self-reported internet use.

Key findings include the widespread use of mobile devices by primary school children, (86% have access to a smart phone, tablet or iPod); the seemingly younger ages at which children say they have open access to the internet (on average 1st class students first went online at 4.9 years old vs 6th class students first went online at 7.6 years old); and the rise of SnapChat which has taken over Instagram as the most popular social media app with 45% of 6th class pupils now using SnapChat.

Zeeko Crowdfunding 1
Joe Kenny, founder and CEO, Zeeko

Joe Kenny, Zeeko founder and CEO said, “There is no doubt the internet is a hugely beneficial resource for young people and something they will use more than the current generation. Internet safety is all about education. Particularly for younger children it is important to raise their awareness of online risks to give them the protection and coping strategies which will help them become confident digital citizens.”

The Primary School Digital Trend Report follows on from the Report issued in January 2016 which found many children in primary school said they had experienced cyberbullying.

In 2015, Zeeko asked ‘Have you ever been cyberbullied, or have you experienced cyberbullying happening to people around you (in schools, your friends, your family etc.) to which 23% of 5th class children said they had.  In 2016, Zeeko updated the questions and divided this question into two parts a) have you ever been cyberbullied? and b) have you ever experienced cyberbullying happening to people around you (schools, friends, family, etc)?  

The results for 2015 and 2016 in relation to cyberbullying are therefore not directly comparable. However, the indications are that cyberbullying is still an issue which parents need to be aware of. In 2016, the percentages of primary school children who reported being cyberbullied are still more than 10% in most classes or an average of 3 children in a typical class of 30 pupils.

Further report highlights are summarised below.

Zeeko was set up in 2013 by Joe Kenny, an entrepreneur and a parent concerned about the lack of attention being given to the growing dominance of the internet in children’s lives. 

With backing from Enterprise Ireland and personal funding, Joe established Zeeko to provide training and education to children, parents and educators in schools to help protect children as they explore the digital world.


4 January 2017

For further information contact Micéal Whelan, University College Dublin, Communications Manager (Innovation), e: miceal.whelan@ucd.ie or t: + 353 1 716 3712 or Joe Kenny, Zeeko, t: + 353 1 531 2612, e: joe@zeeko.ie.

Editors Notes

Highlights of the trends in 2016 include;

  • 86% of primary school children use a mobile device (smart phone, tablet or iPod).
  • Children are starting younger to use the internet (on average 1st class students first went online at 4.9 years old vs 6th class students first went online at 7.6 years old).
  • 66% of primary school children self-report they know more about online games than their parents and 59% self-report they know about Apps then their parents.
  • 34% of primary school children have more than 2 hours screen time per day during weekdays, rising to 54% having more than 2 hours screen time per day at the weekend.
  • Cyberbullying: Percentage of primary school children who reported being cyberbullied 
    • 1st class 7%
    • 2nd class 13%
    • 3rd class 15%
    • 4th class 10%
    • 5th class 11%
    • 6th class 12%.
  •  SnapChat has taken over Instagram as the most popular social media app with 45% of 6th class pupils using SnapChat.
  •  % of children who see the following as serious or very serious 
    • Cyberbullying, 77%
    • Talking to a stranger online, 58%
    • Digital footprint, 40%
    • Spending too long online, 40%.

 Older boys engage in risky behaviour online, of 6th class boys surveyed 34% spoke with a stranger online, 70% played with a stranger online, and 60% played an over 18 game online.

 About Zeeko 

  • 2016 successful crowdfunding campaign to publish the Zeeko Internet Safety Guide. Free digital copy of the guide sent to every primary school in Ireland.
  • Last school year (Sept 15 - June 16) we delivered internet safety seminars in primary schools to 25,000 pupils, 1,200 teachers and 2,300 parents. This school year (Sept 16 - June 17) on target to deliver internet safety seminars in primary schools, secondary schools and companies to 60,000 pupils, 2,900 teachers and 6,000 parents.
  • Developing the iSAFE (internet safety awareness for Europe) Program to deliver internet safety training across Europe with our online education platform based on gaming technology.
  • Commencing EU funded research into the side effects of virtual reality technology in the areas of education, environment behaviour, empathy or health. www.zeeko.ie 

At NovaUCD, the hub for new ventures and entrepreneurs at University College Dublin, we nurture and support new high-tech and knowledge-intensive companies as part of UCD's mission. At NovaUCD we provide purpose-built, state-of-the-art incubation facilities alongside a comprehensive business support programme for client companies such as Zeeko. NovaUCD has been funded through a unique public-private partnership that includes AIB Bank, Arthur Cox, Deloitte, Enterprise Ireland, Ericsson, Goodbody Stockbrokers, UCD and Xilinx. www.ucd.ie/novaucd