Internet safety charity CyberSafeKids is encouraging families across Ireland to take a ‘cyber break’ this weekend.

Recent research by the charity has found that 93 per cent of children aged 8–12 own smart devices and 84 per cent are signed up to social media and messaging apps.

The significant number of 8-12 year olds using social media comes despite the minimum age requirement for most popular sites being 13 years old.

With such a high rate of digital use among children, families are being challenged to have some device-free time this weekend from 5pm on Friday for 24 hours.

Speaking about the cyber break challenge, CEO of CyberSafeKids Alex Cooney said people need to take time to recharge.

“We know the internet is a tremendous resource for all of us and in so many ways a huge asset to our lives, as we saw through various periods of lockdown over the past 18 months, but it can also be all consuming and hard to switch-off,” Ms Cooney commented.

“Every so often, we need to make time to recharge ourselves, not our devices.

“Cyber Break is an initiative, supported by Littlewoods Ireland, aimed at families and is about taking that time out, to reset the balance and to spend time doing fun stuff together offline.”