National Survey of Children, their Parents and Adults regarding Online Safety 2020

Study number (SN): 0076-00


Department of Tourism Culture Arts Gaeltacht Sport & Media (2021). National Survey of Children, their Parents and Adults regarding Online Safety, 2020. [dataset]. Version 1. Irish Social Science Data Archive. SN: 0076-00. URL


The research consisted of three nationally representative surveys, one of children (9- 17 years-old), one of their parents, and a separate survey of adults (from 18 years-old). The objectives of the research were to:

  • Determine how adults and children in Ireland use and access the internet and the level of their digital skills

  • Estimate the prevalence of online risks experienced by internet users

  • Identify opportunities and benefits obtained using the internet

  • Identify safety practices of adults and children when using the internet

  • Identify how parents and carers mediate in the use of internet by their children

Overall, this research provides an overview of how people in Ireland, particularly children, access and use the internet, including their digital literacy and exposure to risks. The research also examines how children and parents work together to deal with any risks.

The research with children and parents is based primarily on the EU Kids Online questionnaire previously undertaken in Ireland in 2011 and 2014. The questionnaires were adapted and updated to take account of changing patterns of use and technological trends. A new short survey of adults’ experiences of risks and safety online was also undertaken adapting with permission an equivalent survey undertaken by the eSafety Commissioner in Australia.

Funding Source:

Department of Tourism Culture Arts Gaeltacht Sport & Media.


  • Internet use and access

  • Digital opportunities and risks

  • Digital skills, literacies and competencies

  • Online Safety

  • Cyberbullying

  • Social and parental mediation

  • Digital environment and well-being



A total of 765 children and 765 of their parents/carers and, separately, 387 adults were interviewed.

Observation units

  • Individual

Temporal coverage

From 12/2019 to 10/2020

Time dimension

Cross-sectional one-time study

Geographical coverage

Country: Ireland

Methods of data collection

  • PAPI (Paper and Pencil Interviewing): With interviewer (face to face, telephone or other)

Sampling procedures

A quota sampling approach using defined starting addresses was used to select households and participants. The selection of the sample involved a stratified random selection of addresses, or sampling points, to distribute the sample geographically throughout the Republic of Ireland, proportional to population.

The Republic of Ireland is divided geographically into 3,440 Electoral Divisions (EDs) ranged across Urban and Rural districts throughout the country. These EDs provided the basis of the sampling frame from which the selection of sampling points was chosen for this study – each sampling point represented an individual ED.

To ensure that the selected Electoral Divisions (EDs) were representative of the required population in terms of its distribution around Ireland, the population was initially stratified by province and degree of urbanisation. Within this stratification, all wards, towns and EDs were listed with their populations and the required sampling points were selected proportional to their population, utilising a random, systematic selection process.
In this manner 125 EDs were selected by identifying every nth ED. This framework ensured a spread of interviewing across all urban and rural dimensions. The systematic approach further ensured that all households had an equal opportunity for selection regardless of the size of the ED.
Within each sampling point the interviewer was provided with a randomly selected starting address from which they commenced their interviewing assignment of 20 interviews (8 children 8 parents and 4 other adults).
At each sampling point quota controls were applied to ensure that the sample was representative of the universe in terms of required demographic criteria. These were set by gender and age of the child (9-11, 12-13, 14-15, 16-17), and by age of the other adult (18-44, 45+). For parents, the interviewer was permitted to select either the female or male caregiver.


The data used for analyses were weighted and cleaned by Ipsos MRBI. Data was then analysed by researchers at TU Dublin using IBM SPSS Statistics 27, working collaboratively with Ipsos MRBI during the analysis process to clarify errors and make sure that the dataset was clean and error-free.
Weighting measure:
The dataset was weighted to rectify two specific issues within the data.
Firstly, while quotas were used to control who was selected by the interviewer to complete the survey, this did not create a perfectly representative sample.
Secondly, as fieldwork was abandoned due to the ongoing Covid restrictions this meant that more interviewing had been completed in some regions than in others. Weighting was then used to correct these discrepancies and ensure that the survey data accurately represented the intended survey groups.
Target weights were taken from two sources – Census 2016 and the Joint National Listenership Research (JNLR) survey. The JNLR survey is a joint industry research project conducted on behalf of the Irish radio industry that has been running since 1990. It interviews 16,600 respondents each year using a stratified random selection of sample points (at local radio franchise level) utilising a unique starting address, with random route procedure and application of quota controls.
A rim weighting process was adopted using the weights shown below.
Children: Age (9-11, 12-13, 14-15, 16-17) by gender (male, female) and region (Dublin, Rest of Leinster, Munster, Connacht/Ulster).
Parents: Age (18-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55+), gender (male, female) and region and region (Dublin, Rest of Leinster, Munster, Connacht/Ulster).
Other adults: Age (18-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55+), gender (male, female) and region and region (Dublin, Rest of Leinster, Munster, Connacht/Ulster).
The weights for children’s age and gender were taken from Census 2016. The weights for age and gender of parents and other adults, and region for all groups, were taken from the JNLR survey as this provided a detailed breakdown of household composition by age of dependents in order to provide a reliable profile of both groups.

Response rate

A total of 765 children and 765 of their parents/carers and, separately, 387 adults were interviewed. 


Data (available through ISSDA application process)

File name

File format/s

Contents of file



Survey data for adults



Survey data for parents



Survey data for children


Documentation (available for download)

File name

File format/s

Contents of file



Adult Questionnaire



Parent Questionnaire



Child Questionnaire



Questionnaire Summary




Accessing the data

To access the data, please complete a ISSDA Data Request Form for Research Purposes, sign it, and send it to ISSDA by email.

For teaching purposes, please complete the ISSDA Data Request Form for Teaching Purposes, and follow the procedures, as above. Teaching requests are approved on a once-off module/workshop basis. Subsequent occurrences of the module/workshop require a new teaching request form.

Data will be disseminated on receipt of a fully completed, signed form. Incomplete or unsigned forms will be returned to the data requester for completion. Please note that any reference to signature and date in this document can be read as meaning the typed name and date where such an application is forwarded electronically. 



Any work based in whole or part on resources provided by the ISSDA, should  acknowledge: “National Survey of Children, their Parents and Adults regarding Online Safety, 2020" and also ISSDA, in the following way: “Accessed via the Irish Social Science Data Archive -”.

Citation requirement

The data and its creators shall be cited in all publications and presentations for which the data have been used. The bibliographic citation may be in the form suggested by the archive or in the form required by the publication.

Bibliographical citation

Department of Tourism Culture Arts Gaeltacht Sport & Media (2021). National Survey of Children, their Parents and Adults regarding Online Safety, 2020. [dataset]. Version 1. Irish Social Science Data Archive. SN: 0076-00. URL


The user shall notify the Irish Social Science Data Archive of all publications where she or he has used the data.