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RealTime IT News

Parents Offer Children Little Protection from the Net

Australian parents are doing little to protect their children from accessing uncensored pornography and indecent language on the Web, according to latest findings from Internet research company IMR.

In a national report into Internet usage by parents, children and teenagers released Wednesday, findings revealed that only six per cent of parents surveyed were using software programs to restrict their children's access to Internet sites that could carry offensive or indecent images or information.

In addition, only 37 per cent of parents said they monitored the type of site their kids visited whilst 33 per cent monitored when their children used the Internet.

The report which surveyed 500 6- to 17-year-olds as well as their parents, also found that almost two thirds of all children and teenagers are Internet users, which translates to about two million of the national population according to IMR.

One third of six to eight year olds were users, 62 per cent of nine to 11-year-olds and 80 per cent of those aged 12 and above. Interestingly, these groups said they preferred using the Internet more than listening to the radio, reading books or watching PayTV.

IMR Worldwide research director Tony Eustace, said the report was an important benchmark in understanding the incidence and patterns of Internet use by young people.

"The dynamics of Net surfing and information gathering on the Internet is an area that needs greater clarity. There is hordes of research about kids' television viewing habits or magazine readerships, but when it comes to the potent capability of directing curiosity and gathering information on the Internet, we haven't had reliable data until now."

He said the Internet is a significant factor for kids and gaining ground constantly.

"When you see that kids prefer surfing the Net more than listening to the radio, reading books or watching pay television, parents and teachers should be paying close attention," Eustance concluded.