Photo: CD Bank
27 percent said their parents surfed together with them
Photo: CD Bank
Photo: Getty Image Bank
60 percent have visited pornographic websites
Photo: Getty Image Bank
Photo: Visual/Photos
24 percent have met a stranger they first encountered online
Photo: Visual/Photos

Most Israeli kids visit porn websites, study shows

Do children surf to porn sites? 'Absolutely not' say 84 percent of parents. 'Of course' say 60 percent of their kids. But who would have thought that pornography would be the least of your worries as kids reveal they have met online strangers in person, doled out personal information and visited websites devoted to racial violence

But what do they do there all day? If you're a parent, chances are you've asked yourself this question time and again as your offsprings breeze past you and make a beeline for their bedrooms, and their computers.


So what does go on online? A new study conducted by Professor Dafna Lemish of the Tel Aviv University Department of Communications and Dr. Rivka Ribak of the correlating department in Haifa University may just have the answers, and chances are most parents won't be too happy with them.


Sponsored by the Israeli Internet Association and the Netvision Institute for Internet Research the study is part of a larger international project probing the online practices of youths in 18 countries.


Over the course of the spring-summer seasons of 2006 researchers conducted personal interviews with 532 youths, aged 9-18, who were each asked 190 questions pertaining to their internet habits. 90 additional questions were directed at one parent of each child.


The children polled are a representative sampling of Israel's youth, with the standard deviation dictating the participation of more girls than boys, more Jews than non-Jews and more families from a higher socio-economic standing than families from lower ones. The study did not include youths from the ultra-Orthodox public.


56 percent 'had no emotional reaction to pornography'

The study first found that 47 percent of the youths polled have a private internet connection in their bedrooms, meaning they can surf in complete privacy whenever they want. Sixty percent also reported having access to the internet via their personal mobile phones.


Sixty percent of those polled said they had viewed pornographic material online. Of this figure only 19 percent said they had sought out the material intentionally (primarily boys).Their parents on the other hand had a slightly more naïve view of their progeny, only 16 percent said they believed their children had accessed adult websites.


But lest parents start rushing off 60 percent of the nation's youth to psychotherapists, 56 percent of those exposed to pornography said that it had no emotional affect at them at all while 10 percent said that they had enjoyed the pornography (once again, primarily boys) and only 7 percent said that they regretted having viewed sexual content (primarily girls and elementary school students).


But that may not be the most alarming revelation: 24 percent of the youths said that they had a face-to-face meeting with a stranger they met online. Only 10 percent of the parents, less than half, said that their child had met with an online acquaintance. 40 percent of the youths reported having given out personal information online, only 4 percent of parents said the same of their children.


Thirty-five percent they had been exposed to violent images while 19 percent report they were accidentally exposed to websites advocating hate crimes. 5 percent said they had intentionally sought out the hate sites.


Girls lie more about physical appearance

Fifty-seven percent of youths said that they have made efforts to hide their internet activities, with boys and older youths showing more adeptness in concealing their online tracks by deleting history records, emails and renaming files.


Sixty-two percent said their parents were clueless about their internet activities, 17 percent said that their parents tried to peek at the computer screen while they were surfing and 27 percent said that their parents surf together with them.


Forty-four percent said they have copied homework from the internet, 30 percent said they feel more confident

about themselves online, 53 percent said they have presented a false identity online (with girls lying more than boys about physical appearance) and 58 percent said that the greatest danger lurking online were computer viruses.


The full results of the study will be presented at the annual Israeli Internet Association conference on February 19th.


פרסום ראשון: 02.01.07, 13:11
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