Kids are increasingly getting online, and at an earlier age

Kids are increasingly getting online, and at an earlier age

At the age of 11, nearly 9 out of 10 children are already using the internet in several countries, according to a new study

In general, parents in France put more restrictions on their children and give them internet access later on, compared to parents in other Western countries. – ETX pic, January 26, 2023
AT what age did you first introduce your children to the internet? This seemingly simple question nevertheless stirs up controversy and debate, if not a certain amount of guilt on the part of parents concerned about preventing their children from becoming addicted to screens.

On average, children are essentially introduced to the internet between the ages of 5 and 8, according to a new study conducted by the Mozilla Foundation* among more than 3,500 parents of children between the ages of 5 and 17 in the United States, Canada, Germany, France and the United Kingdom. However, children in Germany and France tend to discover the internet later, at the age of 7 and 8, respectively.

Online from age 2

In detail, 36% of US parents say they introduced their children to the internet between the ages of 2 and 5, compared to 35% and 34% for Canadian and British parents. This percentage drops to 21% for parents in Germany and 16% for those in France.

French parents are more likely to introduce their children to the web at the age of 5 to 8 or 8 to 11 (36% and 32%, respectively). Note that, in France, 3% of teenagers explore the web for the first time between 14 and 17 years old.

As for the average time spent online, according to the study, it averages 4 hours per day for all countries, although disparities remain. More than 8 out of 10 French parents (87%) allow their children to use the internet for up to 4 hours a day, but nearly half (47%) still impose a daily limit of 1 hour.

In France, the average is 2 hours a day. In the United States, where children seem to be online the longest, 57% of parents set the daily limit at 4 hours, while 20% allow them to surf between 5 and 7 hours a day, and 7% between 8 and 10 hours.

Concerns about online safety

According to the French parents questioned, school, and more precisely homework and other school needs, appear to be the main reason why they might introduce their children to using the internet (43%). But it is not the only reason. Next comes watching entertainment videos (40%), accessing games (29%), keeping in touch with family and friends (22%), and, to a lesser extent, shopping online (3%). This last reason is more important in the United States (8%).

But how do children really use the internet? Clearly not in the way parents expect, since school needs only come third (54%), behind watching entertainment videos (67%) and gaming (61%). Online shopping also appears to be more significant than parents expect, at 9%.

But that’s not what parents are most concerned about when it comes to surfing the web. Safety is the number one concern when it comes to internet use. In fact, nearly three quarters of French parents (73%) believe that the internet is not a safe place. An opinion shared by 56% of American parents and 58% of Canadian parents.

In France, exposure to inappropriate content (61%) is of particular concern to parents, ahead of the threat posed by online predators (51%) and cyberbullying (50%). This observation leads parents to make their children aware of these types of dangers at an increasingly early age, from 5 years old in France.

*The survey was conducted between September 21 and 29, 2022, via an online questionnaire, among 3,699 parents aged 25 to 55, residing in the United States, Canada, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, with children aged 5 to 17. The sample is representative of the general population, balanced and weighted by age, gender, region, education.

source – ETX Daily Up

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