Five Things You Should Know About Kids And The Internet

For American kids ages 6-11, the Internet is much more of an entertainment platform than it is a venue for communicating, with most of the entertainment occurring within the home.

Within that age group, 71.1% of kids accessed the Internet in the past 30 days, according to the most recent data from the "2008 American Kids Study" conducted by Mediamark Research & Intelligence (MRI).

Based on the results of the in-home survey of approximately 5,000 youths - along with an accompanying survey of primary adult caregivers - five characteristics emerge with regard to kids and their use of the Internet.

1. Home Is Where the Action Is

Of the 71.1% of kids who used the Internet in the last 30 days, 83.4% did their Web surfing at home. School was the second most popular location, at 29.6% of kids, followed by bookstore/library at 6.82%.

Within the household, a very small percentage of kids who used the Internet in the last 30 days (10.9%) had Internet access in their own room. Those respondents were virtually evenly split between boys (48.2%) and girls (51.8%). Only 17.0% of those with access in their room said their parents allow them to self-police their surfing activities.

2. Don't Instant Message Me, I'm Playing Games

Kids are far more likely to use the Internet for entertainment than for any other purpose. Among those who visited the Web in the past 30 days, 81.2% reported having done so to play online games. And it's not just the guys who are sharpening their hand-eye coordination in the digisphere. Of these gamers, 50.1% were boys and 49.9% were girls.

The incidence of game playing decreases along with age - 83.8% of kids ages 6-7, 81.5% of kids 8-9 and 79.1% in the 10-11 age bracket. Other popular activities among kids who used the Internet in the last 30 days were: watched videos (34.7%); "did stuff for homework" (32.4%); and listened to music (30.6%).

3. Style-Conscious Kids Also Among The Most Tech-Savvy

Nearly one in three U.S. kids ages 6-11 who used the Internet in the last 30 days agreed with the statement "being 'in style' is very important to me." These style-conscious youngsters also tend to be the more tech-savvy. The style-conscious set is 48% more likely than all kids online in the last 30 days to download music; 33% more likely to shop or look for things to buy online; 29% more likely to say their parents let them go anywhere they want on the Internet; 34% more likely to use the Internet to listen to music; and 19% more likely to watch videos online.

4. Television Web Sites Are The Most Popular

Of the nearly 50 Web sites measured by our study, three of the top five are TV sites (Disneychannel.com, Nick.com and Cartoonnetwork.com) among kids who used the Internet in the last 30 days. When kids aren't frequenting these entertainment sites, they're apparently looking for other sites to visit, as the fifth most popular destination was Yahoo.com.

5. Advertising Draws Kids To The Internet

More than half (57.0%) of kids who surfed the Web in the last 30 days did so because advertising drove them there. This group was fairly evenly divided by gender: 50.9% were girls and 49.1% were boys. While advertising motivated 50.4% of kids ages 6-7 to Web sites, it did so to 62.0% of youths in the 10-11 age set.

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1 comment about "Five Things You Should Know About Kids And The Internet ".
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  1. Leonard Sipes from Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, February 13, 2009 at 10:44 a.m.

    We have a radio show on child internet safety with Department of Justice agencies at http://media.csosa.gov (see radio shows).
    Len Sipes, federal Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency. twitter.com/lensipes.