09/03/2012 11:00 GMT

Children Prefer To Google Rather Than Ask Their Teachers

The majority of children now turn to Google for answers rather than ask their teachers, new research published on Friday claims.

More than half (54%) of six to 15-year-olds admit the search engine is their first point of call when they have a question, with a mere 3% saying they would ask their teacher. Nearly one in 10 (9%) would never go to their teacher for an answer, a survey by Birmingham Science City found.

But it is not just teachers Google is replacing; parents also found themselves in second place to the internet giant. Only around a quarter (26%) of children said they would ask their parents first if they had a query.

The majority (91%) of the children questioned use Google, with almost half (47%) Googling at least five times a day and nearly a fifth (18%) using the search engine 10 times or more daily.  When Google is unable to help, a fifth of children would then look to Wikipedia for answers.

The research, conducted as part of National Science and Engineering Week to find how digital technology has affect children's research and exploration habits, also found:

  • More than one third (34%) of children do not think their parents could do their homework
  • More than one in 10 (14%) do not think their parents are intelligent
  • Nearly one third of children (31%) have used an iPad, Kindle or computer to read a book and more than one third (36%) do so on a weekly basis
  • Children prefer to communicate with their friends digitally, with texting, Facebook and email the most popular choices (47%, 46% and 27% respectively)

Dr Pam Waddell, Director of Birmingham Science City, said it was not surprising children often Google questions before asking parents, friends or teachers.


“This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It shows just how commonplace digital technology is for children today and how comfortable they are with using it. Children, no matter what generation they grow up in, have an inquisitive and curious nature, and so the fact they are able to use new technology to explore this is a positive sign for the future.”

The survey of 500 children in the Midlands revealed many are uncomfortable with traditional sources of information; almost half (45%) have never used a print encyclopaedia and nearly a fifth (19%) have never used a print dictionary.

Additionally, a quarter of children do not know what an encyclopaedia is, with one in ten thinking it is something you cook with, travel on, use to catch a ball or to perform an operation.