At what age did you introduce your children to the Internet? A seemingly simple question that nevertheless arouses controversy and repeated debates, if not a certain guilt among parents anxious to prevent any potential addiction of their cherubs to screens. On average, children are primarily introduced to the Internet between the ages of 5 and 8, according to a new study by the Mozilla Foundation of more than 3,500 parents of children aged 5 to 17 living in the United States, in Canada, Germany, France and the United Kingdom. A later age, however, in Germany and France, where children discover the Internet on average at the respective ages of 7 and 8 years old.
Connected from 2 years old
In detail, 36% of American parents say they introduce their children to the Internet between the ages of 2 and 5, compared to 35% and 34% for Canadian and British parents. A percentage that drops to 21% for German parents, and 16% for French parents. On the other hand, the latter are more likely to introduce their children to the workings of the Web at the age of 5-8 and 8-11 (36% and 32% respectively). It should also be noted that in France, 3% of teenagers explore the web for the first time between the ages of 14 and 17.
As for the average time spent online, according to the study, it is four hours on average per day for all countries, although disparities remain. More than eight in ten French parents (87%) allow their children to use the Internet for up to 4 hours a day, but almost half (47%) still impose a daily limit of one hour. In France, the average is thus established at 2 hours daily. In the United States, the country where children seem to be online the longest, only 57% of parents set the daily limit at 4 hours a day, while 20% allow them to surf between 5 and 7 hours a day, and 7% between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Safety in focus
According to the French parents surveyed, school, and more specifically homework and other school needs, would be the main reason for which they would introduce their children to the use of the Internet (43%). But it is not the only one. This is followed by viewing entertainment videos (40%), accessing games (29%), the need to maintain contact with family and friends (22%), and, to a lesser extent, online shopping. line (3%). Which is even more important in the United States (8%). But how do children actually use the Internet? Obviously not as parents hope, since school needs only come in third place (54%) behind watching entertainment videos (67%) and gaming (61%). Online shopping would also be more important than what parents expect, at 9%.
But that’s not what parents are most concerned about when it comes to navigation. Security is at the top of the worries caused by the use of the Internet. Moreover, nearly three-quarters of French parents (73%) believe that the Internet is not a safe space. An opinion shared by only 56% of American parents and 58% of Canadian parents. In France, exposure to inappropriate content (61%) is of particular concern to parents, given the threat posed by online predators (51%) and cyberbullying (50%). An observation that leads parents to make their children aware of this type of danger at an earlier and earlier age, from the age of 5 in France.
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