Feeds

Poll: Porn-watching, net-savvy kids are a myth

Cyberbullying grief highlighted instead

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Parents who think their tearaway hacking kiddies are seeing all sorts of things they shouldn't online are buying into some of the top myths about children on the web, according to a new report.

EU Kids Online, a research project based at the London School of Economics and Political Science, talked to kids across Europe about their online habits and discovered that they are both more and less clued up than their parents reckon.

It's commonly thought that web savvy kids know everything about the net and are happily hacking FBI databases with one hand while circumnavigating parental security controls with the other.

However, only 36 per cent of children aged nine to 16 thought it was "very true" that they knew more about the internet than their folks. And fewer than one in three in the 11-to-16 age group said that they're able to get around safety software or change filter preferences.

Where children were most savvy was in getting online access. Many parents keep the home computer in the living room as a method of restricting usage, but kids are mostly able to get online at a friend's house or on a smartphone, so relying on looking over their shoulder isn't a good way to protect them.

"Parents are better advised to talk to their children about their internet habits or join them in some online activity," EU Kids Online said.

One fear guaranteed to give parents nightmares is the thought that their children might be in contact with strangers online, but the report also found that this was a myth.

While 38 per cent of kids between the ages of nine and 12 are creating social networking profiles - contrary to the rules of many sites of these sites - most kids only talk to people online who they know face-to-face. Nine per cent met someone offline whom they'd first met online and most of the children surveyed were savvy enough not to go alone. However, the study did show that one per cent of kids meeting an internet contact offline had a bad experience.

"Often the view of how children behave online is out of date and needs updating – that's why we included the list of top 10 myths in our report. For example, while parents worry more about 'stranger danger', children find cyberbullying the most upsetting risk," said Professor Sonia Livingstone, who led the project.

Kids were also finding that those who were doing the bullying, whether on or offline, had also been bullied themselves at some point. In fact, 60 per cent of bullies were also victims.

Despite the media scorn that suggests that's all adolescents ever want to do, children weren't watching porn all day either. The project found that one in seven children saw sexual images online in the last year, and even allowing for the fact that some wouldn't 'fess up, this is a smaller percentage than the numbers the shock-and-awe crowd typically bandy about.

EU Kids Online surveyed 25,000 children and their parents across Europe. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.