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What Kids Really Do Online (Despite What Parents Think)


US moms and dads estimate their children spend only two hours a month on the internet, but kids say they actually spend 10 times more time — or 20 hours — according to a recent study, the first Norton Online Living Report by Symantec (via MarketingCharts).

What's more, 41 percent of respondents age 13-17 say their parents have no idea what they do online, and only 33 percent of parents worldwide say they set parental controls and monitor their children's online activities.

Conducted by Harris Interactive, the study sheds light on what kids are really doing when they log on:

  • Making friends. About a third (35 percent) of US online children age 8-17 have made friends online. That percentage increases as kids get older: 50 percent of US teens age 13-17 report making online friends. Some 33 percent of kids 8-17 report that they prefer to spend at least as much time with their online friends as their offline friends.
  • Social-networking. More than three fourths (76 percent) of US teens age 13-17 "constantly," "frequently" or "sometimes" visit social-networking sites. Worldwide, about half of boys (51 percent) and girls (48 percent) do so.
  • Shopping. About one in three US children (35 percent) report being "very confident" or "confident" in shopping online. That number is 69 percent among children in China.
  • Fielding requests for personal information. About four in 10 (42 percent) US teens age 13-17 say they have received an online request for personal information.
  • Being approached by strangers. Though US adults estimate that 6 percent of their children have been approached online by a stranger, 16 percent of US children report being approached.

The study also revealed interesting online behaviors of online adults - seeĀ MarketingCharts for those findings.

About the Survey: The Norton Online Living Report survey was conducted online within eight countries (US, UK, Australia, Germany, France, Brazil, China, and Japan) by Harris Interactive on behalf of Symantec.

The survey took place between November 12 and December 17, 2007 among 4,687 adults 18 years old and older and 2,717 children age 8 to 17 years old who spend one or more hours online each month. Results were weighted to be representative of the population of online adults and children for each country.

The overall study entailed 15-minute interviews among adults and 5-minute interviews among children. Questions asked were identical across all countries, with some overlap between the adult and children surveys.

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