1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2010  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2010   
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Communication

Children accessing the Internet(a)
Graph Image for Children accessing the Internet(a)

Footnote(s): (a) Proportion of all children in the relevant age group in the 12 months to April.

Source(s): ABS Household Use of Information Technology, 2008-09 (cat. no. 8146.0)

CHILDREN AND THE INTERNET

While most children use the Internet, those who do not are potentially disadvantaged. The increasing requirement for Internet access in order to complete school work, and the increased availability of home Internet services, have driven a sharp increase in the proportion of children accessing the Internet at both home and school.

In April 2009, nearly four out of every five (79%) children aged 5-14 years (2.2 million children) used the Internet, compared to 65% in April 2006 (1.7 million children). Home was reported as the most common site for Internet use in 2009 (92% of all children accessing the Internet) followed by school (86%) (ABS 2009a). Older children (aged 12-14 years) had the highest proportion of Internet usage in April 2009 (96%). Internet usage was 60% for children aged 5-8 years.

For children accessing the Internet at home in April 2009, educational activities (85%) and playing online games (69%) were the most common activities. Use of the Internet for general surfing or web browsing was reported by half (50%) of children, 47% of children listened to or downloaded music, and 36% used the Internet for emailing (ABS 2009a).

Internet usage was lowest for children with unemployed parents (69% for those in one parent families and 67% for those in couple families where the parent or parents were unemployed). Children living in major cities reported higher incidence of Internet access compared to children living in regional and remote parts of Australia (ABS 2009a).

In April 2009, few children who accessed the Internet in the previous 12 months were reported to have had some kind of personal safety or security problem on the Internet (3% or 72,000). This included problems such as accessing inappropriate material, experiencing bullying or threatening behaviour, or strangers asking for or gaining access to the child's personal information. Supervising or monitoring children's use of the Internet was the most common action taken by parents or guardians for personal safety or security of children using the Internet at home (89%), followed by educating children about safe and appropriate use of the Internet (83%), placing the computer in a public area of the house (77%) and installing an Internet content filter (47%) (ABS 2009a).

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