23 Oct 2013
Most children prefer smartphones to navigate on the Internet at least once a day, according to research funded by the Safer Internet Programme. The findings also suggest there is potential for reducing underage use of social networks even in countries where parents are less familiar with the internet.
The Net Children Go Mobile report shows that 53 percent of European children own a smartphone and almost a half use it daily to go online. Percentages vary depending on the country.
The "Mobile internet access and use among European children" report also revealed that four out of 10 children surf the Internet on their smartphones in the privacy of their bedrooms. Children mainly go online on social networks, for entertainment and to share content with the others.
“It is of vital importance that industries, governments, policy makers, NGOs, researchers and other stakeholders cooperate to build a better internet for children, and reach priority goals such as content classification, age-appropriate services and privacy settings, and easy and robust reporting mechanisms on mobile devices and services,” the report reads.
The increasing use of smartphones may expose kids to several security risks. Bitdefender research recently showed several Android games monitor the location of babies and small children, despite the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which requires developers not to access such personal information without parental consent.
The Net Children Go Mobile is funded by the Safer Internet Programme to investigate how the changing conditions of internet bring greater, lesser or new risks to children’s online safety. The project included a survey on over 2,000 internet users aged 9 to 16 from Denmark, Italy, Romania and the UK.