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What's on the minds of the nation's ten year olds?

AOL study offers insight into their online and offline worlds and their views of the future

Houses that float above the ground, robot teachers, and discovering comedian Peter Kay in a time capsule are among UK ten year olds’ predictions for the future. For now, they’re happy playing outside, having fun with computer games, and dreaming of emailing David Beckham.

More than 500 ten year olds recently took part in the nationwide ‘Now We Are Ten’ study by AOL UK to mark the company’s 10th birthday this Autumn. The study focuses on the first generation to be born in the Internet era, offering a fascinating insight into their online and offline worlds and their views of the future. It was conducted by Quaestor Research and Marketing Strategists.

Karen Thomson, Chief Executive and Chairman of AOL UK, commented: “It’s fascinating to see how ten year olds are embracing technology and how excited they are about how it will impact the lives of future generations. Born in 1995, they have grown up in a world where high-tech devices and the Internet are omnipresent and they appear to be completely comfortable with everything from email to games consoles as a result – some are so savvy that their parents turn to them for advice!”

“As a mum, I’m particularly pleased to see that children still want a balance in their lives. They’re making the most of technology and the Internet, but not at the expense of more traditional pastimes such as playing outside and going swimming. And they’re also using the Web to help with their homework and stay in touch with friends and family.”

Loving technology…but it can’t beat going out to play

Despite more than three quarters of ten year olds (76 per cent) having access to a PC at home, they have by no means abandoned the great outdoors for the mouse. ‘Playing outside’ and ‘Watching TV’ are their favourite pastimes, both cited by over half of ten year olds (54 per cent), followed by ‘Playing sports’ and ‘Playing computer games’ (each with 41 per cent), ‘Going to friends’ houses’ (31 per cent), ‘Playing on bikes’ (27 per cent) and ‘Going swimming’ (25 per cent). ‘Going on the computer’ and ‘Going on the Internet’ do not yet feature in their top five pastimes, but are more popular than playing with pets, shopping, going to the cinema, texting friends and even having a lie-in

Footballers and pop stars would be the most fascinating “e-pals” for UK ten year olds. Given the opportunity to have any celebrity’s email address, David Beckham was the most popular choice, followed by Britney Spears, Eminem, McFly and Wayne Rooney

Ten year olds are more likely to go online at school than at home. 80 per cent of those polled use the Internet at school, compared to 70 per cent at home, 43 per cent at friends’ houses, and 16 per cent at libraries

Having broadband at home appears to encourage more frequent use of the Internet among children, with nearly a quarter of “broadband kids” (22 per cent) going online every day compared to only four per cent of those with narrowband

Favourite Web sites include Google, CBBC, and football club sites. After “googling”, which nearly three quarters of ten year olds do when they go online, the most popular Web activities are finding information for school projects (68 per cent) and playing games online (67 per cent)

Over a quarter of respondents (28 per cent) use email to stay in touch with friends and family and it looks like handwritten thank you letters could soon be a thing of the past, with over half of ten year olds saying they would send an email instead

Gaming is very popular, with 80 per cent of ten year olds having access to a games console such as PlayStation or Xbox at home. In comparison, digital cameras and MP3 players are yet to make significant in-roads into the home lives of ten year olds, with only 22 per cent and 13 per cent respectively having access to them

Nearly half of ten year olds (48 per cent) have the time they spend on the Internet restricted by their parents, whilst 66 per cent say that their parents have rules about what they may and may not do online

Tech-savvy kids are becoming home-based helpdesks, with the parents of over a third of the children surveyed (39 per cent) having asked for their help when using the Internet. “Broadband parents” are more likely to turn to their children for technical advice than their narrowband counterparts – 49 per cent compared to 33 per cent

When asked who they thought invented the Internet as we know it today, the majority of the ten year olds polled did not want to hazard a guess. The most popular suggestions among those who did are ‘scientists’, including Thomas Edison and Einstein, and Bill Gates or Microsoft. God, AOL, Alan Sugar, Google and The Queen are also cited, with even a few mentions of Robbie Williams and the ubiquitous Crazy Frog

Excited about the future

The most popular item for UK ten year olds to put in a time capsule for their peers to discover in the future is a football. Technology follows close behind, with PlayStation taking second place in the list of contents. And UK kids clearly love Peter Kay! The Phoenix Nights comedian is the only celebrity mentioned as being an ‘item’ they would like to place in a time capsule to reflect their lives in 2005

Forget Maths, English and French - tomorrow’s school curriculum will include lessons in Information Technology, Building Robots, Alien Languages and Celebrities. According to 37 per cent of those polled, teachers will be robots in the future, whilst nearly a quarter (24 per cent) think that teachers will still be human but with interchangeable microchips for different subjects

TV and film clearly influence children’s views of transport in the future, with 41 per cent believing people will travel by “hoverboards” (a skateboard without wheels that hovers above the ground) in the future, over a third predicting that cars will fly, and 29 per cent envisaging people wearing jet packs to get from A to B

More than half of the ten year olds polled (55 per cent) imagine that people will live in tardis-style houses and 38 per cent envisage that the home of the future will float above the ground

Socially aware

Protecting the environment and reducing poverty should be taken more seriously in order to make the world a better place in the future, according to ten year olds. Of the children polled, 67 per cent said that their primary concern was the environment, followed by 66 per cent citing poverty

53 per cent want to see terrorism combated and 51 per cent want the focus to be on reducing crime

41 per cent said they would like to improve healthcare and food whilst less than a third (31 per cent) mentioned that they would like to see improvements in education

The timing of the study, which took place in July, has no doubt contributed to heightened social awareness among ten year olds, with the children’s responses clearly influenced by Live 8, the G8 Summit, and the London bombings

Thomson added: “In the years since AOL launched in the UK, technology and the Internet have evolved at breakneck pace. It’s clear from the children’s predictions for the future that they expect ever-increasing innovation and it’s up to the industry to deliver this.”

- Ends –

Notes to Editors

AOL UK’s ‘Now We Are Ten’ study of ten year olds was conducted by Quaestor Research and Marketing Strategists ( in July 2005.

The research included both qualitative and quantitative methods. The qualitative research was conducted with 13 friendship pairs and the quantitative research was carried out through face-to-face interviews with 515 ten year olds in the UK. All the children taking part in the study were born in 1995, the year that AOL UK launched as a company. All 515 participants were selected at random and are nationally representative.

The full findings of the study can be found at Selected participants in the study are available for interview and various photographs of ten year old twins, as well as futuristic cartoons, are available on request.

Please contact Miki Watson or Laura Wood at Golden Goose PR on 0207 223 4488 or email / for further information, including regional breakdowns.

Observations on the study

The following people are available for comment on the ‘Now We Are Ten’ study:

Matt Whyman - Matt is a popular magazine and Internet agony uncle and has also written several advice books for young people, including the bestselling XY series for boys. He has written numerous health awareness campaigns, for Radio One, The Health Education Authority and Brook Centres, as well as advising the Government's Chief Medical Officer on youth issues.

Rob Mansfield, AOL UK - Rob oversees the content on AOL's popular Kids and Teens channels, which includes music, chat, homework help, games, and advice. Prior to AOL, Rob worked on a variety of youth magazines for 10 years, including Young Telegraph, Looks, Disney’s Big Time, Mizz, Bliss and More.

Caroline Bond, Quaestor – Caroline began her career after an English degree at Oxford and has worked in the research industry for 19 years. Having established her child/youth and media credentials in London, Caroline joined Quaestor Research and Marketing Strategists and is currently Qualitative Director.

About AOL

AOL is the leading online interactive services provider to the UK, with more than 2.3 million members, including more than one million on AOL Broadband. AOL offers a range of services in the UK, including dial-up, broadband and voice, as well as unrivalled content and community for all the family.

Members spend more than one hour a day online on average, enjoying access to more than 20 channels of online content, from Entertainment and News to Parenting, Shopping and Money, as well as email and the Internet.

The AOL Internet service and AOL Talk are provided to UK subscribers by AOL Europe Services SARL, a company in the AOL group based in Luxembourg. AOL (UK) Limited is part of AOL Europe, a business unit of America Online Inc., which is the world’s leading interactive services company with more than 27 million members worldwide. America Online Inc. is a division of Time Warner Inc., a leading media and entertainment company, whose businesses include interactive services, cable systems, filmed entertainment, television networks and publishing.