Children aged three hooked to internet, warn Netmums

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CHILDREN as young as three are developing a fixation with the internet, which sees them spending two hours a day online, often viewing inappropriate websites.

A study by parenting website Netmums found children’s growing familiarity with the internet is worsening the obesity epidemic and having a negative impact on their school work.

A survey of 825 children aged seven to 16 and 1,127 parents found many children are spending twice as long online as their parents realise.

The study found that growing web use means 28 per cent of children now struggle with offline activities which require concentration, such as reading a book.

It also found that more than half of children had accidentally accessed inappropriate content, such as pornography, online. However, one in 11 children look for it deliberately.

Netmums.com co-founder Siobhan Freegard said: “The web is an amazing invention and a vital part of our kids’ lives, but technology is moving so fast that it’s impossible to predict the effect it will have on our kids.

“Some scientists have predicted large amounts of internet exposure may alter the way kids think and in many ways we are in the middle of a giant experiment with our children as the subject. We are raising a generation of technical geniuses, but at what cost?”

CHRIS MARSHALL

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