More children online

A substantial rise in the number of under eight-year-olds who log on to the Internet has been registered in the last five years, according to a report from an international project named EU Kids Online.

“Children are beginning to use the Internet earlier in their lives and their lack of technical, judgemental and social capacities may increase possible risks,” said Cristina Ponte, a teacher from Universidade Nova de Lisboa, who is also the coordinator of the project in Portugal, but without specifying exact numbers.

Ponte added that investigations have focused on youths between the age of nine and 16, but that there is lack of information concerning the risks for children under these ages.

Although the study could not determine the effect that the exposure to the Internet could have on these children, the researchers recommended parents to be more careful concerning their children’s use of the Internet and the exposure of their private life, especially in terms of the posting of pictures and videos.

“Some parents are leaving digital footprints concerning their children on social networks, which can change privacy policies without the permission of individual users,” warned the researchers.