A quarter of children in the UK aged 8-12 who use the Internet at home say they have a profile on Facebook, Bebo or MySpace, although the minimum age is 13, according to new research from communications regulator Ofcom.
The majority (83%) of these children have their profile set so it can only be seen by friends, and 4 percent have a profile that can't be seen. Parents of these children who are aware that their child visits social networking sites (93%) also say they check on what their child is doing on such sites. However one in six (17 per cent) parents of this group are not aware that their child visits social networking sites.
Downloading or watching TV episodes or movies on the Internet has increased by 4 percent in the past year by children aged 8-15 who use the Internet at home (from 17 percent in 2008 to 21 percent in 2009).
Ofcom found nearly half (44%) of those aged 12-15 believe that downloading shared copies of films and music for free should not be illegal, with 18 percent saying they don't know and 38 percent saying it should be illegal. Boys were more likely to say it should not be illegal (48%).
Blogs or sites like Wikipedia where users can add or change information are visited by 18 percent of those aged 8-11 and almost half of those 12-15 (48%). Users of these sites aged 8-11 are much more likely than 12-15 to believe that the information on these types of sites is all or mostly true (70 per cent vs. 48 per cent) with boys aged 8-15 more likely than girls of this age to believe that all or most of the information is true (59 per cent vs. 46 per cent).
Two in five users of social networking sites aged 8-11 and 12-15 also believe that all or most of the information on these sites is true (38% and 40% respectively). One in four aged 12-15 (27%) who use search engines think that they only return results from websites with truthful information.