How the internet is killing Santa Claus
CHILDREN will eventually discover the truth about Santa, but it's now happening much earlier than parents are happy with.
Once, kids would find the presents they'd asked Santa to deliver, hidden away in a cupboard.
Or an older sibling or playground whispers would be the spoiler.
Today, as a result of social media, targeted advertising and the truth of Santa being just a quick Google search away, youngsters are ever more likely to come across the reality of Santa Claus while they're online.
The age belief ends
According to new research, of 2004 Australian parents, by virtual private network provider hidemyass.com, the internet seems to be playing such a major role in altering children's Christmas beliefs that it may be contributing to driving down the average age youngsters stop believing in Santa.
One in six (16.3 per cent) parents said that the internet was responsible for their children finding out that Santa Claus is not real.
A generation ago, the responding parents stopped believing in Santa at an average of 8½ years old (8.59 years) compared with children born in the last 20 years where the average age they stopped believing in Santa was just over 6½ years old (6.73 years).
How did your child find out about Santa?
This poll ended on 05 December 2015.
The internet was to blame
From a friend
From an advertisement
I told them
They figured it out themselves
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Of the parents who pointed the finger of blame at the internet, the most common online offender was advertising.
Indeed, 44 per cent of children had their Santa suspicions raised after seeing ads online for the very gifts they'd wished for in their letters to the North Pole.
Additionally, over a third (38 per cent) performed a Google search for Santa and clicked onto a web page explaining that he was no more than a merry myth.
While 25 per cent of children simply watched on in the background as their parents shopped online for Christmas presents.
Meanwhile, for one in 10 (9 per cent) Aussie children, their holiday happiness came crashing down after reading an unfortunate Tweet or Facebook post saying that Santa is make-believe.
Reflecting the fact that this generation's youngsters are effectively born internet literate, research also shows that 7 per cent of children have turned cyber sleuth and looked through their parents' internet search history or online shopping accounts to find evidence that mum and dad had procured the Christmas presents, not Mr Claus and his elves.
Plug-in launched to hide the truth about Santa
To help parents keep the wonder alive, HMA! has made available a plug-in that can be installed on home computers to let children continue to browse the internet without stumbling on un-Christmassy news.
The Keep Believing in Santa plug-in (or extension if you're a Chrome user) can be downloaded free from the hidemyass.com websitey.
The Switch On function effectively hides any search results, web pages, tweets or Facebook posts where certain combinations of words such as 'Santa' and 'fake' appear. Instead, kids will see a picture of Santa.