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Teens found to have major internet advertising blind spot

A new Ofcom report suggests that a large proportion of young people can’t distinguish between internet ads and search results.

The popular perception is that children are way more internet-savvy then us oldsters who grew up without permanent – or even frequent – access to the internet.

But a new report from UK watchdog Ofcom suggests that when it comes to a deeper understanding of how the internet works and is funded, our young ones are sorely and troublingly lacking.

As relayed by the Financial Times, only a third of 12 to 15-year-olds polled could spot the adverts in among the Google search results. That figure dropped to one in five for 8 to 11-year-olds.

One in five of the teenage group, meanwhile, believed that all information returned by a search result must be true. It was also found that almost half of the group didn’t realise that YouTube was funded by advertising.

Given the popularity of Google’s video service among kids (the company even launched a kid-focused version recently), that’s slightly concerning.

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“The internet allows children to learn, discover different points of view and stay connected with friends and family,” said Ofcom’s James Thickett. “But these digital natives still need help to develop the knowhow they need to navigate the online world.”

It’s been found that children aged 12 to 15 now spend three hours per day online, which is half an hour more than the time they spend watching TV.

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