Kids online and mobile at a younger and younger age

In Europe, kids access the internet on a daily basis at the age of eight. Their favourite place to surf is in their bedrooms, on a mobile device. Their online practices are often limited to a small number of activities, but some expose them to risks.

At a very tender age, our kids gain access to mobile devices that open the gates of the internet – at any time and anywhere

According to the European survey Net Children Go Mobile, published in February 2014:

  • They get their first mobile at the age of 9 and their first smartphone at 12. 18% of 8-11 year-olds and 26% of 12-15 year-olds have their own tablets. At the age of 11 and 12, before the legal threshold (13), 57% of our kids have a profile on a social network,
  • Eight in ten kids surf everyday at home, preferably in their bedrooms. 45% use a smartphone to go online, 30% a tablet.

Music, videos and social networks are kids’ top online destinations, ahead of homework-related searches and games.

According to a survey of 2,500 children ages 9 to 16 in five European countries, the most common risks they face are:

  • bullying and cyberbullying:

-    27%: bullying
-    14%: cyberbullying

  • encounters:

-    30% have made contact with someone online
-    12% also met in real life a person first contacted online

  • sexually explicit images:

-    29% have already seen them (on and offline)

  • sexually explicit messages (kids over 11): 

-    13% have been exposed

  • 21% of the children questioned have been distressed by an online experience.

The mobile internet habits of 9 to 16-year-olds and their exposure to online risks are correlated to cultural and educational practices:

  • Young Danes who surf the internet at the age of 6 and enjoy a high level of autonomy are the most exposed to risks, as are Romanian kids, who are not so closely watched by their parents.
  • Belgian, Irish, Portuguese and English children are less exposed, because parents more actively control and limit their use of the internet.