SPOTLIGHT: Millions of young Brazilians without internet

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Despite the rising penetration of internet in Brazil, principally of mobile broadband, 3.4mn children and teenagers have never accessed the internet and 5.9mn are off-line.

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The findings are from the 2015 ICT kids online survey, conducted annually by the studies department of the country's internet steering committee CGI.br.

Conducted between November 2015 and June 2016, the survey included 3,068 individuals aged 9-17 years, as well as their parents or guardians.

According to CGI, 23.7mn children and adolescents between 9 and 17 years are internet users in Brazil. Of these, 83% access it via mobile phones and 71% through Wi-Fi networks.

CGI considers a user anyone who accessed the internet at least once in the three months prior to the survey.

No less than 66% said they browse the internet more than once a day.

When asked about the main type of internet usage, 78% cite school papers or homework, which is the same rate as those who mentioned sending instant messaging and accessing social networks. More than one type of internet usage could be picked.

Of the survey participants, 85% have a profile on social media, principally Facebook and WhatsApp, and 36% of these said their profiles were private (seen only by their contacts).

The survey also looked into the safety and security aspects of Brazilian kids' internet usage. A third of those who had a social media profile, for example, said they shared their phone number and 23% shared their address.

According to CGI, 20% of connected children have been treated in an offensive way while on the internet during the last 12 months prior to the survey. Meanwhile, 13% claimed to have acted offensively in the same period.

Receiving offensive messages was singled out as the main type of bullying.

OFF-LINE

Those who claim having never accessed the web represent 11% of the age group in the survey, which is of around 29.7mn according to census data. The rate of those off-line, or lacking internet access, is nearly 20%.

Among the main reasons for never having accessed the internet, 15% said they had no internet at home and 9% said there was no internet anywhere they go.

There is also a wide gap between children in urban and rural areas. While around 8% of those from the first group have never been online, the rate climbs to 25% among rural kids.

A previous CGI study showed the persistent differences between public and private schools regarding the usage and access to the internet and ICT equipment.

There are also significant variations when the comparison is based on household income or the level of education of the parents and guardians, according to the CGI's latest survey.