Summary (see below or click ‘More’ for more detail)
• We are contacting you because you and your 13-year-old have taken part in the Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) study for several years. Your participation is important to the success of the study. [More #1]
1. Why are we contacting you?
Your 13-year-old was one of more than 11,000 children and their families who first took part in the Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) survey when the children were nine months of age in 2008/09. Growing Up in Ireland follows the progress of the same group of children over time. Government and others are using this information to help improve our understanding of all aspects of the lives of children, young people and their families.
We would like to interview you and your child again in the next few weeks (at a time which suits your family) to find out how they have grown and changed over recent years.
Just as before:
- Taking part in the study is voluntary.
- Your participation will play a major role in the success of Growing Up in Ireland.
- We hope that you can support us with this important work, and we would like to thank you, in advance, for your help.
• Growing Up in Ireland is funded by the government and carried out by a group of researchers led by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and Trinity College Dublin. [More #2]
2. Who is running the study?
Growing Up in Ireland is funded by Government through the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY). It is overseen and managed by the DCEDIY in association with the Central Statistics Office (CSO). The study is being carried out for DCEDIY by a group of independent researchers led by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and Trinity College Dublin. As part of the survey this year, the Central Statistics Office is hosting a web survey.
The interviewer who will telephone you is from the ESRI. Each interviewer has been specially trained for Growing Up in Ireland and has been vetted by An Garda Síochána and appointed as an Officer of Statistics by the CSO. The people running the study are committed to protecting the welfare of children and follow the Children First Guidance, 2017.
You can check the identity of your interviewer or let us know if you were unhappy with the way the interview was conducted by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Growing Up in Ireland aims to improve our understanding of all aspects of the lives and development of children and young people to inform policy to provide better supports and services for them. [More #3]
3. What is the purpose of the study?
Growing Up in Ireland is the first and most important study of its kind ever to take place in this country. The purpose of the study is to improve our understanding of all aspects of the lives of children and young people and their development. It will build a bank of information which will:
- Tell us how children and young people develop over time.
- Help us to find out what factors affect a child’s development.
- Look at what makes for a healthy and happy childhood and what might lead to a less happy one.
- Help us to discover what children think of their own lives and learn what it means to be a child growing up in Ireland.
- Provide information which will help Government to make good decisions about issues relating to children and young people.
• We are now asking for your help to understand the experiences of young people and their families at this unprecedented time of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are asking you to complete a telephone survey with an interviewer and a short (about ten minutes) online survey. We are also asking for your consent to your 13-year-old taking part in a telephone and web survey. Your interviewer will phone you to discuss what’s involved. [More, #4]
4. What does taking part involve?
An interviewer will contact you in the coming weeks to let you know what is involved in the survey, answer any questions you may have and to arrange to interview you and your 13-year-old, with your consent. If you live with a spouse or partner, we would also like to interview them as well. The interviews will be conducted by telephone and will last about 50 minutes for you, 20 minutes for your spouse or partner (where relevant) and 35 minutes for your 13-year-old. We would also like to ask your 13-year-old to complete a short word and memory task on the telephone. The interviews can be scheduled at a time convenient for you.
There will be a very short (10 minutes) follow-up web survey for both you and your child (and if you live with a spouse or partner, for them as well). Your interviewer will explain what is involved and how to access the web survey.
• Information collected in the survey is covered by the Statistics Act, 1993. It is used only to produce statistical analysis and is treated in the strictest confidence. ‘Statistical analysis’ means combining information on a large number of children and families to give an overall picture of their lives. The researchers who look at all of the answers together will not be able to link your answers back to you. However, if you tell us something outside the answers given to the direct survey questions which causes us to have serious concerns for the welfare of a child, or other vulnerable person, we may have to tell someone who could help. You may request access to the information about you on the questionnaires which you complete. You will not have access to any information provided by your 13-year-old. [More, #5]
5. How we deal with issues of confidentiality
Information in the GUI survey is collected under section 24 of the Statistics Act (1993). This Act provides a legislative basis for the compilation and dissemination of official statistics by the Central Statistics Office. It ensures that the information you provide can only be used for statistical purposes. Your personal data will remain strictly confidential and will not be disclosed to anyone outside of the GUI Study.
Your answers to the survey questions will be saved on computer and combined with answers from thousands of other parents and young people. The information can only be used for statistical purposes. Reports based on the information collected by GUI will not include any information that would identify you or your family.
However, if an interviewer observes something or is told something outside the answers given to the direct survey questions which causes them to have serious concerns for the welfare of a child, or other vulnerable person, they may have to tell someone who could help.
The information given by your 13-year-old in answer to the questions on the survey and their response to the word and memory task will not be seen by anyone else in your family – not even you will have access to it. The information will be used only for statistical research purposes. Individual results will not be seen by you or anyone outside the GUI Study Team. Similarly, other participants such as your partner will not see the information you give to us. You can find more information about your rights in the Privacy Statement by following the links on the Information for Participants section of the Growing Up in Ireland website (See Where can I find more information, below).
In order to make the best use of the information you provide, the Central Statistics Office, operating under the strictest controlled procedures in line with the Statistics Act and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), may match your data to other types of information. This would only be done for statistical research purposes and the results of the analysis will not in any way allow you or your family to be identified.
More information on the CSO data policies can be found via the links on the Information for Participants section of the Growing Up in Ireland website (See Where can I find more information, below).
• You can decide to take part in the survey. You can also decide to change your mind and withdraw from the survey at any time – even after you have completed the survey. If there is any question you do not wish to answer, you do not have to do so. [More, #6]
6. Participation is voluntary
You and your family do not have to take part in this study, though your participation would really help make sure that the voices of people like you are heard by policy-makers and those providing services to families and young people.
You can also decide to change your mind and withdraw from the survey at any time – even after you have completed the survey. If there is any question you do not wish to answer, you do not have to do so.
Whether you take part in the survey or if you decide not to take part, it will in no way affect any health, educational or social care benefit which you or your family will receive from the State.
• We will ask you – and your spouse or partner, if relevant – questions about your 13-year-old’s health, education and activities and your relationship with them. We will also ask you some questions about your own health, relationships, how you have been feeling lately, work and family life. You can choose not to answer some (or all) questions if you want to. [More #7]
7. What kind of questions will my family be asked?
This interview will be similar to our last interview, but shorter. We will ask you, and your spouse or partner, questions about things like your 13-year-old’s health, education and activities and your relationship with them. We will also ask you some questions about your own health, relationships, how you have been feeling lately, work and family life.
The questions are straightforward, though some are quite detailed. Some will address relatively sensitive issues, like your family’s income, family life and (if you live with a spouse or partner) your relationship with them. You can choose to skip over any of the questions if you do not wish to answer them. The interviewer will be able to help if you have any concerns or questions about the survey questionnaire itself.
• We will ask for your consent for your 13-year-old to participate. If you agree, an interviewer will ask them questions over the phone about their home and school life; their interests and activities; and their relationship with you, with siblings and friends. There is a short word and memory task at the end of the telephone survey. Then they will be asked to complete a short web survey with more sensitive questions, such as about relationships and sexuality, anti-social behaviour, how they have been feeling recently, bullying, cigarettes, alcohol and other substances, and how they get on with the main person who looks after them [More #8]
8. What kind of questions will my 13-year-old be asked?
The 13-year-olds, with your permission, will be asked questions about their home and school life; their interests and the activities they enjoy; and their relationship with you, siblings and friends. They can choose not to answer some (or all) questions if they want to. We would also like to ask your 13-year-old to complete a short word and memory task on the telephone. This is a standard assessment of ability used widely in research with children. It is straightforward to complete.
If you would like to see the questions before your 13-year-old is interviewed, the interviewer can talk to you in more detail about what is covered. You can also find more details on the Information for Participants section of the Growing Up in Ireland website (See Where can I find more information, below).
There is a separate web survey for the 13-year-olds with more sensitive questions, such as questions about relationships and sexuality, anti-social behaviour, how they have been feeling recently, bullying, cigarettes, alcohol and other substances and how they get on with the main person who looks after them. If you would like to review these questions before deciding whether to consent to your 13-year-old completing them, your interviewer can provide more details. We want to make sure that as many 13-year-olds as possible take part and have a voice in the Growing Up in Ireland study, but you can choose not to have your 13-year-old complete these questions if you prefer.
• To ask a question or find more information, please see paragraph 9, below [More, # 9]
9. Where can I find more information?
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: Visit growingup.ie
- Growing Up in Ireland Information for Participants: go to the website (www.growingup.ie) and either click on the red button at the top of the home page or open the ‘menu’ if viewing on a smartphone.
- Post: Growing Up in Ireland, Economic & Social Research Institute, Whitaker Square, Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2, D02 K138
- Social Media: To find out about what researchers have discovered so far please follow us on social media: