Manage it, it strategies and solutions

August 13, 2016

At the latest when school starts, Internet use for children becomes everyday life. Around 75 percent of 3 to 15 year olds are regularly online. The majority of the very young (3-5 years) use a tablet, over a quarter of them partially unsupervised.

Very few people know what dangers lurk on the Internet. Only 41 percent of parents talk to preschool children about the dangers on the Internet, and one in five of the 6- to 9-year-olds (21%) was not informed about the risks.

Parents place the greatest importance in media education on the dangers to their own wallets. Expensive downloads and in-app purchases are number one in parent-child discussions (62%). Dangers for personal data (58%) and non-age-appropriate apps and games (56%) follow in second and third place. Not even half of the parents (49%) discuss the causes and consequences of an infection with computer pests with their children.

These results are provided by a representative study by the market research institute Ears and Eyes on behalf of the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) [1]. The BSI therefore recommends parents to attach greater importance to their children’s IT security education even at a young age.

"Even our smallest citizens use the Internet and must be protected from the risks," said Arne Schönbohm, President of the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI). »Parents should take their children by the hand and talk to them about the risk of in-app purchases, chat programs and age-appropriate offers.«

Internet usage by age group

More than half of the 3 to 5 year olds already use tablets (59%) and smartphones (55%) – of these more than a quarter (27%) use the tablet partly independently, 14 percent use the smartphone. In total, around three quarters of all children between the ages of 3 and 15 are online.

Internet use increases with the age of children. Primary school age (6-9 years), 83 percent of the children are already using the tablet on the Internet, just under a quarter of them are completely independent (23%), 30 percent are at least partially alone. The computer (77%) and the smartphone (67%) are also in lively use among primary school children, of whom a share of 26 and 29 percent use them partly without parental supervision.

What kids do on the net

The most popular web applications in kindergarten age include special children’s websites (38%), educational games and offers (34%), video portals (32%) and online computer games (16%). In elementary school, the internet plays a role in homework and class preparation for 35 percent. In contrast to kindergarten children, search engines (58%), instant messaging (29%) and email programs (23%) are added. Of the children, who attend a secondary school (from ten years of age) use 79 percent on the Internet as homework and research help. At the latest from primary school age, this increases the risk that children will come into contact with content or malware that is not age-appropriate, which is introduced, for example, via e-mails.

Education is necessary

The BSI therefore advises parents to give their children an age-appropriate and safe child at an early age Dealing with to introduce the Internet. You should discuss with them which websites and content are suitable for them and also show them to them. In addition, the installation of technical child protection programs is recommended, which ensures that a number of functions of the device cannot be used by children. Information about Internet dangers is already taking place today, but not to the same extent as the partially unsupervised use by children.


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Christina Cherry
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