With a rise in access to home computers in France, children are online more every year. Indeed, with around 99 percent of those aged 12-17 having access to the internet at home as well as 100 percent using it actively , the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has led to home schooling with the help of online platforms . In 2020, approximately 85 percent of children accessed the internet on their smartphones , spending an average of 15 hours a week this way and less than two hours a day on social media .

Internet activities and usage frequency

For children, the internet is mainly used for browsing online , watching movies or playing games. For online shopping , children aged 12 to 17 contributed significantly to end-of year e-commerce sales, even more so than French seniors aged over 60. With social media playing an important part in communication across all generations , the majority of children registered on at least one social media platform were 14 years old. The most popular social networking site among French children was Instagram with a 86 percent adoption rate. Young girls mostly posted messages and pictures about themselves and their families on social media. A significant share of boys also mentioned sharing their passions and hobbies . Having less than 50 followers on their main social media account, the possible stranger danger encountered on those platforms seems low. However, when it comes to playing online games, the probability of meeting people they don't know in real life is higher.

Dangers of the internet and parental control measures

With the present fear of being intimidated online , some children have encountered violent or pornographic content when browsing on the internet. Having been harassed on social media , some children became the harasser . Most are aware that their online actions can have an impact on the virtual and real life of the victims and perpetrators, and think that offensive content should be regulated more . This goes in line with the majority of adults, who think that the age limit on websites with pornographic content should be under 18. They also regarded default parental control measures set by the French President in 2019 as essential.


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