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One in three kids believe Google measures truthiness

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Congratulations, Jimbo! Almost one third of British secondary school children believe Google ranks search results in order of their truthfulness, according to new research by Ofcom.

The statistic - great news for Wikipedians, terrifying for the rest of us - was reported in the communications regulator's annual report on children's "media literacy", out today.

Only a slightly larger proportion - 37 per cent - believe results are ranked on their usefulness or relevance. The next generation of cynics - 14 per cent of 12 to 15-year-olds - said websites pay money for the top spots.

Some 18 per cent said they didn't know how Google and other search engines rank results, significantly up from four per cent last year.

When it comes to social networking, there are signs children increasingly appreciate the privacy and security pitfalls. 69 per cent of 12 to 15-year-olds now restrict who can access their profile, up 10 per cent from last year.

Across every age group, the majority of parents said they trust their children to use the internet safely. Almost half have installed some form of filtering software or turned on parental controls such as Google's SafeSearch, however, and online services concern parents more than TV, radio, video games or mobile phones.

The full report is available here. ®

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