A new survey has proved once and for all that children are indeed homunculi, a theory first posited by Haley Joel Osment’s early films. Well, nearly homunculi. The survey, done by Symantec security and reported on CNET, reveals the top internet search terms used by tiny adults aged 8-13, between February and July of this year. Here they are: 1. YouTube 2. Google 3. Facebook 4. Sex 5. MySpace 6. Porn 7. Yahoo 8. Michael Jackson 9. Fred 10. eBay
That’s really not much different than your average adult search, except for that ‘MySpace’ thing. Also perhaps different is ‘Fred,’ apparently a viral sensation amongst children. (I went to fact check this, but YouTube is down, a major story that I’ll leave to the Techmeme Leaderboard.)
Ok, YouTube’s back up, so I didn’t just break a major story after all. But it turns out Fred is that teenager on YouTube who plays a six-year-old kid with a charming Nick-Cage-huffing-helium persona.
Something interesting that does come out of the report is that YouTube for children apparently plays the role wikis play for many adults: as a learning hub.
"[C]hildren even report they use YouTube as a research starting point,” Symantec’s Marian Merritt said on CNET.
"There's a topic they're interested in," Merrit said. "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."
A point that Fred's existence was (hopefully) designed to prove.