Commentary

Just an Online Minute... Europe's Kids

Not to put a Whitney Houston song in your head for the rest of the day, but this one is about children. More specifically, data on European children and their use of the Internet, which those of you with international clients might find useful.

According to the latest stats from Nielsen//NetRatings, the number of children online in Europe has grown by three million in the last 12 months, totaling 13.1 million kids online; four million under 12 years old, and nine million 12-17 year olds.

European Market Analyst Tom Ewing said the fact that families are using the Internet more is likely linked with the growth of broadband access - "perhaps when they're not paying for access by the minute, parents are likely to let children use and explore the Web more."

The overall European growth rate for children was 27%, NetRatings says. Younger children - the under-12s - are joining the online community faster than older children in most European countries. Not surprisingly, Britain has more children online than any other European country and has seen the most dramatic growth in the under-18 online population this year, with a 58% jump in numbers.

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In sites with a higher than average audience of the under 18-year-olds, several sites have emerged which draw high proportions of their audiences from this demographic. For instance, the under-18s contribution to file-sharing giant Kazaa is disproportionate to their level in the online population as a whole. Mobile phone sites and online kids' communities like NeoPets also make attractive targets for advertisers wanting to reach children.

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