Research released today by internet safety expert Trend Micro reveals that nearly a quarter of children aged 7-16 years think that the World Wide Web was invented by the late Steve Jobs or co-creator of Facebook Mark Zuckerburg. While one in ten, and a quarter of those aged seven, believe music mogul Simon Cowell is responsible for the backbone of the internet – with a further one in ten seven year olds attributing the innovation to Alexander Graham Bell and Albert Einstein.
The findings, launched as part of the company’s What’s your Story? project might be viewed as good fun, further findings reveal a more concerning side to internet usage by youngsters. Although they’re deemed old enough to use the internet, over three-quarters of children admit to accidentally clicking links which led them to adult websites, downloading viruses to their computers and visiting a website they were unsure of ‘because it sounded like fun’. A further one in five confess to being embarrassed by a picture someone else has posted of them online and downloading ‘free’ music from the internet. One in ten also report being upset by something they’ve seen online, admit to being friends with people on Facebook who they don’t know in real life – and of more concern, admit to bullying others online.
Rik Ferguson, Director Security & Communication EMEA at Trend Micro said: “The findings of the survey reveal a light-hearted insight into what children love about the internet, but it’s important that it also reinforces the safety message. The internet is a powerful tool and using it safely is an important life skill.”
So who does know the most when it comes to using the internet? For those aged 7-13 one in ten believe its them, while over a quarter of 14-16 year olds believe they know more than everyone else in the family. Dad definitely rules the roost overall with a third of children revealing he knows his stuff when it comes to the internet, followed by older siblings and Mum. And the story isn’t that different when it comes to sharing internet safety, nearly a third say it’s Mum or Dad who’s had ‘the talk’ with them, followed by one in five who get their advice from teachers or grandparents.
Rik continued: “Like everything in life, the internet is about learning, education, and creating a two way dialogue between parents or teachers and children. To reinforce this message, we recently launched the What’s your Story? competition, in partnership with Get Safe Online and supported by a number of internet safety and anti-bullying charities. The competition helps teachers, parents, and young people to become more aware of internet safety. Those aged 7+ are asked to create and submit a short video, song, story, poem or drawing to share their advice to other young people about ‘How to be Web Safe’ – with a £5,000 up for grabs for the Grand Prize winner.”
So when it comes to Facebook, who is it children really want to befriend? Justin Bieber tops the chart with nearly one in five (18%) young fans, followed by over one in ten (14%) of One Direction-ers, with Amy Childs and Cheryl Cole fighting it out for third place in the hearts of the UK’s children (8% and 9% respectively).
The Facebook BFF wish list:
Girls (aged 7-16)
1. Justin Bieber 2. One Direction 3. Amy Childs 4. Cheryl Cole 5. Joey Essex 6. Jessie J 7. Robert Pattinson 8. Jedward 9. Tulisa Contostavlos 9. Peppa Pig
Boys (aged 7-16)
1. Justin Bieber 2. One Direction 3. Cheryl Cole 4. Amy Childs 4. Joey Essex 5. Robert Pattinson 6. Jessie J 7. Tulisa Contostavlos 8. Jedward 9. Rastamouse
What’s Your Story will award a grand prize of £5,000 to the winning entry, as well as three runner-up prizes of £500 each, and one school runner-up prize of £1,000. The last day to submit entries is 3 April 2012. To learn more about the competition and submit your entry, visit www.trendmicro.co.uk/whatsyourstory