Aussie kids youngest, prolific internet users: Study

Some 76 per cent of Australian kids go online daily for an average time of 1.5 hours per day

Australian children are among the earliest and prolific users of the internet globally, according to a new study.

AU Kids Online — authored by Professors Leila Green, John Hartley and Catharine Lumby from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation — compared Australian kids aged nine to 16 to their European counterparts.

A total of 400 children and their parents or carers were interviewed in person for the study.

Australian children were on average less than eight years old when they started surfing the Web, making them one of the youngest users in the 26-nation study.

76 per cent of Australian kids and young teenagers were reported to go online daily for an average time of 1.5 hours per day.

The study also revealed that parental and teacher guidance of online use and safety was high in Australia.

However, 30 per cent of Australian children still encountered online content that ‘upset’ or ‘bothered’ them, such as online bullying and sexual images. This finding was more than double the European average.

“The study reveals that while a minority of children are upset by online risks, many benefit from the advice and tools available to them,” Green said.

“The risks and opportunities of the online world go hand-in-hand for children and it is important to avoid being overly restrictive.”

In addition, Lumby said that Australian kids and young adults not only consumed online material but also created and shared content, including photos, videos and music.

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