The Better Internet for Kids (BIK) Map was created to support EU Member States implement the themes and recommendations of the European Strategy for a Better Internet for Children set out by the European Commission in May 2012. A new study highlights that many EU Member states national policies cover all themes and pillars of the BIK strategy to some extent. However, the area of positive content for children (Pillar 1) is less adhered to. 10 countries report there is zero national policy on quality online content for children.
So what’s the problem?
70% of published written content is not understood by the majority of readers.
The education and technology company, Wizenoze report that more than 41% of users leave websites because the text is too difficult to read. They also estimate that, for example, in the UK, up to 70% of online text is written at a reading age which is higher than the average person can read. This is known as the Readability Gap. It is the difference between the reading level of a visitor and the reading level of the text they are reading.
The Readability Gap is at its most acute for students, but it is not only students been impacted. Many teachers are themselves unable to access the highest reading levels.
For education needs, search results from general search engines are in many cases not relevant: they are too difficult to read, driven by advertisements or comprised of content from unreliable sources.
“The Internet was designed for adults, but it is increasingly used by children and young people, and digital technology increasingly affects their lives and futures.” Anthony Lake, Executive Director, UNICEF
Simply put, the web was not designed for children or adults with low to average literacy. It was conceived for and by adults and written for an elite reader. It is time to reimagine a web that is fit for our young people.