Internet’s Killing Santa. Study Reveals Interesting Details about Tech and Kids
Santa Claus, the cuddly bearded old man in a red outfit known as one of the most identifiable icons of Christmas, is quickly fading into oblivion. The culprit: the Internet. A recent study is showing that the next Christmases of the more high-tech generations may no longer experience the joy and wonder of having a Santa Claus.
Keeping Santa Alive
Hide My Ass!, a website that offers VPN service, is trying to keep the traditional Christmas spirit alive through a smart campaign that seeks to prevent children from realizing that the mysterious gift-bearing plump man in red is a lie. The site offers a browser app designed to temporarily hide the truth about Santa from kids, for the sake of having a Christmas that continues to enjoy the idea of having Santa Claus.
Along with this campaign is a survey that reveals many interesting details about Internet usage and people’s perception of Santa and habits during Christmas. Of course, this blog is still about technology so the goal here is still to present some interesting tech-related information. Santa is dying and it’s worth knowing how the Internet and the popularity of mobile web-enabled devices are playing a significant part in it.
The Hard Truths
According to poll, 1 out of 8 children tend to be suspicious about the truth of the existence of Santa Claus. The research further says that 1 in 8 American parents believe that the Internet is responsible for informing kids the truth about Santa Claus. More than 4 out of 10 parents polled blame Google for ruining their children’s traditional Christmas experience. These parents report that their children learned about the “fakeness” of Santa through online searches. The polled parents reveal that around 10% of today’s kids learn about the real Santa Claus through their parents’ shopping accounts.
On the other hand, parents claim that they stopped believing in Santa when they were 8 to 9 years old (8.71 average according to the survey). Their children, however, are said to have stopped believing in Santa at an average age of 7.25 years old. Today’s children are exposed to the truth about Santa at a considerably younger age. It’s also worth noting that back when Google was launched (in 1997), the average age when children stopped believing in Santa Claus was 8.05 years but it was reduced to only 7.71 with the advent of Facebook (in 2005).
Moreover, 34% of the kids (as revealed by the parents surveyed) question the reality of Santa Claus after the saw Internet ads for the gifts they asked for.
Parents’ Internet Habits and Targeted Ads
Not highlighted in the Hidemyass research are details worth a ponder. Apparently, almost all parents don’t bother deleting their browser histories that their kids find out about them. The research also suggests that kids nowadays are quite knowledgeable about Internet surfing that they even bother to look into browser histories or that are aware that when web browsers auto-complete certain searches or inputs in the address bar, the auto-complete suggestions are based on the browser’s history or the searches made by their parents.
Also, the algorithms behind targeted ads at present seem to be quite effective that they are able to display ads that are related to what parents and kids have in mind as they browse the Internet. Even with the accusation of discrimination in Google’s ad-targeting algorithms earlier this year, it can’t be denied that the ads served by Google are usually spot on or at least close to what Internet users have in mind.
This blog would boldly assert that there’s no sense trying to trick kids into believing that Santa is real. While there’s admittedly something magical about the thought of a Santa Claus during Christmas, it’s rather unproductive actively trying to prevent kids from learning the truth. There’s probably no harm in doing it since it’s just something temporary and techie children are bound to know about the truth sooner than later. Still, there’s no considerable advantage to be gained in the effort. One thing is for sure, though: Privax Ltd. (owner of the Hidemyass website and a provider of VPN services) has concocted something really clever for a marketing campaign. Their browser plugins and research data have been Several media outlets from different parts of the world have even unwittingly covered it (their marketing campaign).