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article imageStudy: 81% of 2-year-olds have online presence

By Chris Hogg     Oct 7, 2010 in Internet
According to a survey from Internet security company AVG, a whopping 81 percent of children around the world have an online presence by the time they are two years old. In the U.S., that number is as high as 92 percent.
So where is all the info coming from? According to a news release from AVG, toddlers are gaining online presence through their parents' online actions such as uploading prenatal sonogram photos, tweeting pregnancy experiences, making online albums of children from birth and creating email addresses for babies.
Global numbers show parents all over the world are increasingly more active in building a digital footprint for their kids: In the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, an average of 81 percent of children under the age of two currently have some kind of digital profile or footprint.
In the U.S., 92 percent of children have an online presence by the time they are two compared to 73 percent in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
"It’s shocking to think that a 30-year-old has an online footprint stretching back 10-15 years at most, while the vast majority of children today will have online presence by the time they are two-years-old," said AVG CEO, JR Smith, in a news release. “Our research shows the trend is increasing for a child’s digital birth to coincide with and in many cases pre-date their real birth date. A quarter of babies have sonogram photos posted online before they have even physically entered into the world."
AVG says the average "digital birth" occurs at about six months when one third (33 percent) of kids' photos and info are posted online.
In Australia and New Zealand, 41 percent of newborns have a digital footprint at birth. In the United Kingdom that figure is 37 percent.
In the U.S., 34 percent of children have their prenatal sonogram scans posted online, while in Canada that number is 37 percent. In Europe and Japan, sharing prenatal sonogram scans is not as popular: France (13 percent), Italy (14 percent), Germany (15 percent) and Japan (14 percent).
When it comes to being connected, a total of seven percent of babies and toddlers have an email address created for them by their parents, and five percent have a profile on a social network.
“It’s completely understandable why proud parents would want to upload and share images of very young children with friends and families," said Smith.
That said, AVG also urges parents to think about two things:
• You are creating a digital history for a human being that will follow him or her for the rest of their life. What kind of footprint do you actually want to start for your child, and what will they think about the information you’ve uploaded in future?
• Parents need to be aware of privacy settings they have set on their social network and other profiles.
During the survey parents were asked why they share info and post pictures of their babies online and 70 percent of mothers surveyed said it was because they wanted to share with friends and family. However, 22 percent of mothers in the U.S. said they upload photos and info about their children because they want to add more content to their social networking profiles, while 18 percent said they do it because their friends do.
Finally, mothers were asked how concerned they were about the amount of info about their children that will be online in future years. On a scale of one to five (with five being very concerned), most mothers said they were only moderately concerned (3.5). Spanish mothers were the most concerned (3.9) and Canadian mothers were the least concerned (3.1).
The survey for AVG was conducted by Research Now among 2,200 mothers with young (under two) children during the week of 27 September. Mothers in the EU5 (UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain), Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Japan were polled.
For a complete breakdown of the results by country, see AVG's press release.
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