Nielsen: Kids' online time leaps dramatically

Since 2004, the number of children surfing the Net has shot up 18 percent and their overall time online has risen 63 percent.

Kids from two to 11 years of age are spending 63 percent more time online than they did five years ago, says a report released Monday from Nielsen Online. Children in that age range were online an average of 11 hours in May 2009 versus just 7 hours in May 2004.

Over the past five years, the total number of kids surfing the Net has shot up 18 percent to 16 million, says the report, while the overall Internet population has risen only 10 percent. The younger set now represents 9.5 percent of the online community.

Online use among kids surged despite a projected decrease of 1 percent in the population of children under 14 for 2004 to 2010, says Nielsen, citing an estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Results were split pretty evenly by gender. For May 2009, boys 2-11 spent 7 percent more time online than did girls in the same age group, though girls surfed 9 percent more web pages than did boys.

Online video has proven popular among kids, especially boys. Among all children, boys watched 61 percent of videos on the Net in May 2009, accounting for 57 percent of the time the children spent viewing online video.

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