NEWS

Web-surfing children ignore risks

THESSALONIKI – The vast majority of Greek children are unaware of the dangers inherent in the use of the Internet, and some have run up huge bills on their parents’ credit cards by playing at cyber-casinos, according to a European report published yesterday. Greek children seem to be far behind their other European counterparts in realizing the hidden dangers, with 98 percent saying they had never been told of the risks involved. One 14-year-old who played at an on-line casino site lost 580,000 drachmas (1,700 euros) which was charged to his father’s credit card. A child in Kavala who discovered a pornographic Web page did not realize that by just clicking on the site, he had activated a telephone link that hiked his family’s telephone bill up to 250,000 drachmas (730 euros). «Children think that surfing the Internet is their own secret and do not tell their parents,» said Tania Kyriakidou, president of the Greek Consumer Organization (EKATO), which carried out the survey among 864 Greek children aged 9-17 from various parts of the country. The results of the survey, which was also carried out in Belgium and Britain, showed that 87.5 percent of Greek children said that they had not been told in school about the dangers of the Internet and 72 percent said that they had given out personal details and information about their families to websites or «friends» met through the Internet. Teenagers said they surfed the Net in order to communicate with others. Girls constitute 64 percent of visitors to chat rooms. Younger children (aged 9-11) said they were looking for games, secret codes and other entertainment.