Kids search for the darndest things online.
In recent months, they've been looking for everything from Facebook and YouTube to Michael Jackson, Miley Cyrus, and someone named Fred. Oh, yes, they're also looking for pictures their parents probably don't want them to see.
That's the upshot of a new report from Symantec, based on use of its OnlineFamily.Norton service, which lets parents monitor and manage their kids' online activities, including Web searches. The service can track and report on a child's Internet whereabouts in real time, allowing parents to quickly learn of any content they feel their kids should not be accessing.
Here are the top 10 search terms among kids for the period from February through July:
8. Michael Jackson
Fred? He's a fictional character whose YouTube channel has become a hit among kids, Symantec says.
In an interview with CNET News, Symantec Internet safety advocate Marian Merritt discussed OnlineFamily.Norton, the latest search results, and how parents can help their kids surf more safely. "I think seeing how dominant the terms 'sex' and 'porn' are, that they come up well within the top 10, doesn't surprise us," said Merritt. "You go down farther in the list, you see words of anatomy like 'boobs,' it almost makes you laugh because we remember what it was like to be a preteen or teen.
"Whenever I talk to children, all the way down to the kindergarten level, YouTube is one of the top three or four sites they go to," she explained. "And children even report they use YouTube as a research starting point. There's a topic they're interested in. They go to YouTube because they want to visually learn about something. The reason that's important for parents to understand is that there are challenges around making YouTube a safe environment for your children. It's not really designed for that."