A new study sheds light on children's relationship to the Internet
A new study sheds light on children's relationship to the Internet

A quarter of parents fear their children will have an unhealthy relationship with the Internet, according to a new study that reveals statistics on how Western children interact with the Internet.

The study, published by Mozilla and YouGov, surveyed nearly 4,000 parents in countries including the US, UK, France, Germany and more about their children's Internet usage habits and parental control over family settings.

The investigation follows recent changes to UK internet safety laws, which include the use of artificial intelligence techniques to check the age of visitors to porn sites.

Ofcom recently found that one in three children gain access to such immoral content by revealing their age.

In terms of usage, 15% of UK children spend up to 10 hours a day online and 75% use the internet to play games and watch videos.

52% of UK children spend between 2 and 4 hours per day on the Internet, the average age of these children begins using the Internet at the age of 6, but 40% of parents start using the Internet at the age of 5. The average in Germany and France is 7 and 8 years, respectively.

Many UK parents say they don't think their children can adequately protect themselves online, with 64% saying they have parental controls to restrict content. In addition, 71% worry about the type of content their children can see and 31% don't think the Internet is completely safe.

Parents' top concerns include: 71% inappropriate content, 53% cyberbullying, and 46% cyberbullying. In the case of the latter, the percentage of parents with children between the ages of 10 and 13 is the highest.

54% of parents in the UK are concerned about their children's tracking data, which is lower than respondents in other countries. However, 94% of parents in the UK agree that big tech companies do not make products that serve the best interests of their children.

“The Online Safety Act is a good start to tackle harmful misinformation, but it needs to be implemented effectively through increased oversight of content moderation decisions and accountability for social media companies,” said Kaushal Amlani, Regulatory and Global Competition Consultant at Mozilla.

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