Children Exposed to Internet at Ever Younger Age: Report

October 23, 2018
Editor: Xie Wen

More than 60 percent of Chinese children start to use the internet between the ages of six to 10, according to a report released on October 11 by China Children and Teenagers Fund (CCTF).

The Girls and Families Network Literacy Research Report was released to mark the 7th International Day of the Girl. It drew upon research from 6,300 respondents and in-depth interviews with families and children.

According to the report, young parents have increased their reliance on the internet in the process of raising children. The popularity of smart devices has promoted children's contact with the internet in their early stages of growth.

In terms of content, children most commonly use the internet for doing their homework (25.6 percent), followed by accessing scientific knowledge (20.9 percent).

As regards hobbies and interests, children are most interested in sports events and English-related content.

Nowadays, mobile phones have become the main way for children to access the internet, accounting for 87.3 percent, followed by using a desktop PC.

The survey also found teachers and parents have different attitudes toward children learning with the help of the internet. On the one hand, it enhances children's ability to learn independently; on the other hand, students will be more dependent on the internet to complete their homework, and may even adopt a habit of copying.

Moreover, children who live with their parents spend less time online. Some 7.6 percent use the internet for over six hours a day. The proportion rises to 14.6 percent for those who do not live with their parents.

The data also indicates that the ratio of boys to girls using the internet is 46:54 and it was found that the number of girls who spend two hours or more browsing on the internet per day is higher than that of boys.

Zhu Xisheng, secretary-general of CCTF, made relevant suggestions that government departments, internet companies, families and schools should work together to improve the network literacy among children, which involves the ability to identify, prevent and solve problems and participate in network construction.

Zhu also advised officials to incorporate internet literacy into the school curriculum system, and establish and improve the classification system of information.

(Source: Translated and edited by Women of China)

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