Children and Search

Security firm Symantec did a study that identified the top 100 searches conducted by children online.

No shock that items in the list included YouTube, Facebook, MySpace and pop stars like Michael Jackson and Miley Cyrus. What is surprising about the study is that their list is similar to those of online adults.

Does this mean that they are more mature than we expected, or is it that they are looking for things too mature for them? To educators (and marketers), it might also mean that perhaps our online activities aren't as age dependent as we might have imagined.

The top 10 searches on the kids' list are:
1. YouTube
2. Google
3. Facebook
4. Sex
5. MySpace
6. Porn
7. Yahoo
8. Michael Jackson
9. Fred
10. eBay

Number 6 being "porn" is disturbing, but ten more slots in the top 100 are "parts of the human anatomy" and terms like "XXX."

How and why did a company like Symantec get this data? It comes from their OnlineFamily.Norton,a family safety service product of theirs. The results are based on 3.5 million searches made between February and July 2009.

There was also another trend seen - that kids are searching for easy-to-remember URLs including Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Yahoo, MSN, and Google all the time. Is it just laziness that would cause someone to search for Yahoo instead of adding ".com" and just going to the site? Do they not understand URLs or how to create bookmarks, or not realize that most browsers will remember the URL from your history or even guess at what you are typing? (Google's Chrome browser doesn't even have a search box - you use the address bar which is for URLs and search queries - and then end up at, of course).

Would that "lazy" behavior bother search companies like Google and Yahoo? Nope, since kids are making more use of the engine and viewing more ads. Will these habits remain with kids into adulthood?

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