So, UK kids think Simon Cowell invented the internet

Nearly a quarter of children between seven and 16 think the worldwide web was invented by Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, according to a survey by Trend Micro. One in ten of them (and a quarter of those aged seven) believe Simon Cowell created the web.

Further findings reveal a more concerning side to internet usage by youngsters. Although they’re deemed old enough to use the internet, more than three quarters of children admit to accidently clicking links which led them to adult websites, downloading viruses to their computers and visiting a website they were unsure of ‘because it sounded like fun’. A further one in five confessed to being embarrassed by a picture someone else had posted of them online and downloading ‘free’ music from the internet.

One in ten also reported being upset by something they’ve seen online, admit to being friends with people on Facebook who they don’t know in real life, and to bullying others online.

Rik Ferguson at Trend Micro said, “The findings of the survey reveal a light-hearted insight into what children love about the internet, but it’s important that it also reinforces the safety message. The internet is a powerful tool and using it safely is an important life skill.”

So who does know the most when it comes to using the internet? For those aged seven to 13, one in ten believe it’s them, while more than a quarter of 14-16-year-olds believe they know more than everyone else in the family. Dad definitely rules the roost overall with a third of children revealing he knows his stuff when it comes to the internet, followed by older siblings and Mum. And the story isn’t that different when it comes to sharing internet safety, nearly a third say it’s Mum or Dad who’s had ‘the talk’ with them, followed by one in five who get their advice from teachers or grandparents.

Rik continued, “Like everything in life, the internet is about learning, education, and creating a two way dialogue between parents or teachers and children. To reinforce this message, we recently launched the What’s your Story? competition, in partnership with Get Safe Online and supported by a number of internet safety and anti-bullying charities. The competition helps teachers, parents, and young people to become more aware of internet safety.”

When it comes to Facebook, who is it children really want to befriend? Justin Bieber tops the chart with nearly one in five (18%) young fans, followed by more than one in ten (14%) of One Direction-ers, with Amy Childs and Cheryl Cole fighting it out for third place in the hearts of the UK’s children (8% and 9% respectively). Perhaps of more concern then, is nearly a fifth of children aged seven to 12 years have a Facebook profile, given the minimum age limit to open an account on the social networking site is 13 years.

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