Survey – Parents Introducing Young Children to the Internet

Harris Interactive, a marketing firm that researches issues affecting today’s youth, recently released findings from a new survey examining when parents introduce their young children to the Internet.

Findings for children six or younger:

  • 41% of adults ages 18 and older introduced at least one child to the Internet at the age of six or younger
  • 53% of females ages 18 – 34 introduced at least one child to the Internet at the age of six or younger

Findings for children three or younger:

  • 20% of adults ages 18 and older introduced at least one child to the Internet at the age of three or younger
  • 25% of females ages 18 and older introduced at least one child to the Internet at the age of three or younger
  • 15% of males ages 18 and older introduced at least one child to the Internet at the age of three or younger
  • 28% of females ages 18 – 34 and older introduced at least one child to the Internet at the age of three or younger

This survey was conducted in June 2007. 2,246 adults aged 18 and older were surveyed online. From that number, 549 adults responded that they had children under the age of 18 living in their household. It was from these 549 respondents that these survey results were compiled.

Whether you agree with this survey�s findings or not, you can�t ignore the fact that children are indeed being introduced to computers and the Internet at a very young age. The number of young computer users is growing. However, be aware that even content that claims to be specifically developed for any young audience may not be what�s right for your child. Here are a few tips for parents:

  • Be an informed media consumer for your child. Find reviews about the sites your child wishes to visit. Spend time checking out these sites on your own. Get familiar with the content you�re putting in front of your child.
  • Set some time limits for your child. Computer use in moderation for young users is the best approach.
  • Visiting sites that use internal links tend to be better than those that don�t. What does this mean? Sometimes children�s websites include links to other websites, usually through ads. When clicked, these ads can take your child away from the site you wish them to stay on. In a research report conducted in 2002, it was discovered that young children can�t tell the difference between a site�s content areas and an ad, so be mindful of sites that include advertisements.
  • Spend time with your child while they explore online. Many teachable moments will present themselves and it provides a much more rewarding experience for both parent and child together!
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