Keep kids away from internet on mobile: Survey

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

BEIJING - As cell phones provide a more convenient and inconspicuous alternative to net surfing, Chinese children are obtaining access to the internet at a much younger age, triggering concerns that they may be exposed to harmful information, a survey has found.

A study, released Monday, shows that nearly 60 percent of the respondents had access to the internet for the first time when they were below 10 years old, Xinhua reported.

The survey was conducted mainly among students aged between 10 and 18 years in 106 middle and elementary schools across the country. Some parents and teachers also participated in the survey.

Further, some 1.9 percent of the children gained access to the internet when they were just three years old or below.

This small fraction of the children experienced the internet because their parents surfed the net with them.

The study has warned that such passive net surfing experiences might turn the kids into active internet users.

About 46.6 percent of the children surveyed owned a mobile phone and 39.5 percent used it to go online.

The results show that most of the children use cell phones to chat, read blogs, play games and search for information on the internet.

Experts involved in the study have urged parents to pay special attention to their young children who use the internet through cell phones, as it enables them to go online anytime and anywhere. Such habits will expose them to harmful information, experts warned.

The survey was jointly conducted by the Chinese Young Pioneers Business Development Centre and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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