A report by the UK’s telecoms and Internet watchdog Ofcom says that children are too trusting of what they find on the web, a surprisingly high percentage of them taking search results on trust, and unable to identify paid ads.
One in five online 12-15s (19%) believe information returned by a search engine such as Google or Bing must be true, yet only a third of 12-15s (31%) are able to identify paid-for adverts in these results.
The report found that the position was even worse with YouTube …
Only half of 12-15s (52%) who watch YouTube are aware that advertising is the main source of funding on the site, and less than half (47%) are aware that ‘vloggers’ (video bloggers) can be paid to endorse products or services.
Children surveyed were, however, more savvy when it came to online personas. Almost three-quarters of them said that most people behave differently when they’re online, with more girls than boys holding this view.
Reassuringly, 97% of 8-15 year olds can recall advice they’ve been given about online safety, especially when that advice was given by parents, and 84% say they would tell family or a teacher if they saw something online that concerned them.