computer, internet, teenagers internet, children internet

Youngsters Use the Web Most for Videos, “Sex” Searches

August 14, 2009 05:00 PM
by Anita Gutierrez-Folch
According to a new study, children and teens most often use the Internet to watch YouTube videos and search on “sex” and “porn.” How can you keep your kids safe online?

Adult Material Online Attracts Young Users

A study about children’s and teenager’s Internet use conducted by Symantec Corp. found YouTube to be the most popular search term, and that the terms “sex” and “porn” are among the top 10 searches, “ranked numbers four and six respectively,” Belinda Goldsmith wrote for Reuters.

The search engine Google ranked second, the social networking site Facebook was third, MySpace came in fifth and Yahoo ranked seventh.

By means of OnlineFamily.Norton, a family safety service that monitors how children and teenagers use the Internet, Symantec studied 3.5 million searches and identified the “top 100 searches conducted between February and July,” Goldsmith explains. The service allows parents to see what their children are searching for on the Web, and lets them monitor instant messaging and social network usage. 

Related Topics: The challenges of YouTube; Parental awareness

A report published by the Culture and Media Institute (CMI) highlights “Four Reasons to Keep Your Children Away From YouTube This Summer,” and describes the site as “a haven for soft-core pornography, obscenity and links to outside porn sites.” The report also criticizes YouTube’s minimal safety measures, explaining that “a child surfing the site today could find a universe of objectionable content with little difficulty.”

Marian Merritt, Symantec's Internet safety advocate, talked with Reuters about the importance of parental awareness when kids are surfing online. "It also helps identify ‘teachable moments’ when parents should be talking with their kids about appropriate online behavior and other issues in their kids' online lives," Reuters quoted her as saying.

Reference: Understanding YouTube

YouTube has long been a challenge for parents because the site allows anyone to upload videos, and parental controls on YouTube are very lax, even for “adult-oriented” videos. Learn how to monitor your child’s YouTube use with findingDulcinea’s Understanding YouTube Web Guide.

NEXT: Background: Kids Surf Web More Than Parents Think, and In Ways They Shouldn’t >

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