The antivirus company’s marketing research shows that the age of kids accessing instant messaging and computer games is decreasing. Some 3.45 percent of children chatting with friends via instant message and 2 percent of computer game addicts are 5 years old.
Bitdefender also reveals some children lie about their age when creating social network profiles, especially on Facebook, where they must be at least 13 to sign up. Almost a quarter of the kids in the study had at least one social network account at age 12, while 17 percent were social media users at age 10.
“Kids nowadays are acting like young adults online—just give them an Internet-connected device, and they will find a way to things parents would like to ban forever,” says Bitdefender Chief Security Strategist Catalin Cosoi. “Knowing that online dangers go beyond pornography, to hacking and suicide websites, may help parents protect their kids’ life on- and offline.”
Bitdefender research also discovered teenagers leave instant messaging to the younger kids, as they prefer to access popular “hate” websites that allow children to post violent or racist messages.
These websites also include content that discriminates on the basis of religion or sex, and some belong to terrorist organizations.
More than 17 percent of all children accessing “hate” websites are 14 years old, followed by 15-year-olds (16.52 percent) and 16-year-olds (12.05 percent).