Friday 30 March 2012

So, UK kids think Simon Cowell invented the Internet... !!

Research reveals the truth about children’s perceptions of the internet

Research released today by internet safety expert Trend Micro reveals that nearly a quarter of children aged 7-16 years think that the World Wide Web was invented by the late Steve Jobs or co-creator of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg. While one in ten, and a quarter of those aged seven, believe music mogul Simon Cowell is responsible for the birth of the web – with a further one in ten seven year olds attributing the innovation to Alexander Graham Bell and Albert Einstein.

While the findings, launched as part of the company’s What’s your Story? project might be viewed as good fun, further findings reveal a more concerning side to internet usage by youngsters. Although they’re deemed old enough to use the internet, over three quarters of children admit to accidently clicking links which led them to adult websites, downloading viruses to their computers and visiting a website they were unsure of ‘because it sounded like fun’. A further one in five confess to being embarrassed by a picture someone else has posted of them online and downloading ‘free’ music from the internet. One in ten also report being upset by something they’ve seen online, admit to being friends with people on Facebook who they don’t know in real life – and of more concern, admit to bullying others online.

Rik Ferguson, Director Security & Communication EMEA at Trend Micro said: “The findings of the survey reveal a light-hearted insight into what children love about the internet, but it’s important that it also reinforces the safety message. The internet is a powerful tool and using it safely is an important life skill.”

So who does know the most when it comes to using the internet? For those aged 7-13 one in ten believe its them, while over a quarter of 14-16 year olds believe they know more than everyone else in the family. Dad definitely rules the roost overall with a third of children revealing he knows his stuff when it comes to the internet, followed by older siblings and Mum. And the story isn’t that different when it comes to sharing internet safety, nearly a third say it’s Mum or Dad who’s had ‘the talk’ with them, followed by one in five who get their advice from teachers or grandparents.

Rik continued: “Like everything in life, the internet is about learning, education, and creating a two way dialogue between parents or teachers and children. To reinforce this message, we recently launched the What’s your Story? competition, in partnership with Get Safe Online and supported by a number of internet safety and anti-bullying charities. The competition helps teachers, parents, and young people to become more aware of internet safety.” 

So when it comes to Facebook, who is it children really want to befriend? Justin Bieber tops the chart with nearly one in five (18%) young fans, followed by over one in ten (14%) of One Direction-ers, with Amy Childs and Cheryl Cole fighting it out for third place in the hearts of the UK’s children (8% and 9% respectively). Perhaps of more concern then, is nearly a fifth of children aged 7-12 years have a Facebook page, given the minimum age limit to open an account on the social networking site is 13 years.

The Facebook BFF wishlist:
Girls (aged 7-16)
Boys (aged 7-16)
1. Justin Bieber
1. Justin Bieber
2. One Direction
2. One Direction
3. Amy Childs
3. Cheryl Cole
4. Cheryl Cole
4. Amy Childs
5. Joey Essex
4. Joey Essex
6. Jessie J
5. Robert Pattinson
7. Robert Pattinson
6. Jessie J
8. Jedward
7. Tulisa Contostavlos
9. Tulisa Contostavlos
8. Jedward
9. Peppa Pig
9. Rastamouse

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  1. I'm not surprised so many children don't know who invented the internet - I bet most adults couldn't come up with the right name either!

    As for children getting into trouble online and hitting potentially troublesome links - again it's not surprising, I'm very internet savvy but I've clicked links thinking they're safe then realised they weren't when my internet security stopped me.

    It's so easy to get into trouble online and unfortunately if we want children to learn how to be safe online it's got to be like letting them be safe anywhere - we have to give them the best info we can, tell them to be careful, then let them try it out.

    By the way - I do know who invented the internet - but that's because I'm a sad old techie who could bore for England on the subject of Hypertext transfer protocol, internet protocol, asymmetric digital subscriber lines....etc.

    Obviously I don't think it's boring but whenever hubby & the kids ask me how to do something online they eventually just shout at me to shut up and show them instead of trying to explain all the background workings :-)

  2. I'm not surprised so many children don't know who invented the internet - I bet most adults would struggle to come up with a name too!

    As for child safety online, I'm afraid it's like anything else - we just have to give them the best possible advice and protection then let them try things for themselves. Even as an internet savvy adult I've clicked on sites I believed were safe then backed out when my internet security warned me off!

    by the way, I do know who invented the world wide web and the internet - but that's cos I'm a boring old techie freak who could win an Olympic gold for boring the family with details of http, ip, adsl, etc to the point where they just shout at me to shut up and show them what to do instead of talking them to death!

    Apologies if this posts twice - I did it once and got a 505 error - that'll teach me to boast about being internet savvy :-)

  3. See - I knew it would do it twice! Typical :-)

    Anyway, I'm very sad about how I remember stuff and I always link it to something that will prompt me - so the way I remember who invented the world wide web is to think of Victoria Wood saying 'Kimberley' in that fab northern voice she does so well, then I convert that in my head to Tim-Ber-Lee...which probably makes no sense to anyone else but it reminds me who it was (Berners-Lee by the way) - told you I could bore for England :-)

  4. Now THAT sounds like the winning answer to many a pub quiz or game of Trivial Pursuit !

  5. Thank you for this article - makes me think about how I should approach internet with my kids.. not there quite yet (son is 4 yo) but we need to be aware of all the risks


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