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June 16, 2012

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Average age of initial Internet use: Eight

LOCAL children start to use the Internet at the age of eight on average, and browsing the web on cell phones has become a mainstream trend, a report said yesterday.

More than 75 of percent children can surf the Internet via their cell phones though most people prefer access on computers, said the survey based on more than 1,000 children aged 10 to 14.

Watching online videos, listening to music and playing games are the most popular web functions for children, according to the survey issued by the Shanghai Children's Research Center. Many children also browse and write microblogs to have fun and communicate with others.

Over 80 percent of children said the Internet provides a convenient way for them to study and gain useful information.

Children's dependence on the Internet is increasing. Nearly half think it's easier to communicate online than with each other in person, and more than 10 percent said they are accustomed to surfing the Internet everyday.

Though most children just talk to their acquaintances online, about 10 percent of children often talk to strangers. This poses a potential threat to the safety of children, but it's impossible to ban them from cyberspace, said Lin Pin, the major researcher of the study.

She said the Internet has changed the lives of children, and she advised parents to guide their children.


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