The lack of home internet access can seriously disadvantage many children living in low-income households. The independent voice for the consumer and citizen interest in communications markets.
Children and the internet found a stark social contrast between children from low income households who have internet access at home and those who do not. The report, which looks at the attitudes and opinions of children and their parents to home internet access, is being launched today at a high-level roundtable discussion in London that brings together key representatives from government, think-tanks, the third sector and industry. The round table discussion will consider national policy solutions to help remove the barriers to take-up.

From about age ten most children believe that internet access is a ‘must have’.

Children in the survey said that having the internet at home is important for social networking and developing their own identities.

“MSN is my life. I’m on it all the time”, a 13-year-old girl told us.

One 11-year-old boy explained that he liked it because he could “be really creative on the internet”. While another girl of 11 told the research team: “You can get better knowledge in your head when you use the internet for school work.”

While many parents recognise that an internet connection at home is key to their child’s education and future success, others set up barriers against having it. Cost puts off some parents, but the overriding barrier is parental fear: fear of being left out and isolated within the family; fear that unsuitable content will start to enter their home; and fear that they will not be able to understand or control the computer.

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