THE NUMBER of British children using the Internet has increased by 12 percentage points to 43 per cent in six months, and most frequently it is used for school work, new research reveals.
More than three million children under 17 are now surfing the Net, according to a survey conducted by NOP, and 73 per cent of them believe it helps them to learn.
But they are not just surfing - 58 per cent listen to music while using the Net, 22 per cent watch television at the same time, 10 per cent listen to the radio and the same number read magazines.
The number of the 4,000 respondents who had found something "embarrassing or upsetting" has risen to 33 per cent since the first research for the kids.net project was conducted last October - a cause of concern according to the researchers.
However, the survey finds that children are very positive about the Net, with users described as "clever", "cool", "trendy" and even "rich" by users and non-users.
Children are fast becoming online shoppers, with 46 per cent having searched the Web for something to buy, and 17 per cent having made a purchase (usually with their parents' credit card). Games, music, tickets and videos are the most popular items.
Rob Lawson, one of the researchers, says the findings suggest children are becoming sophisticated Internet users.