Tuesday, 18 January 2011


Avid readers may remember the story of the iPhone 4 rollout in Greece, and how our supposedly impoverished population lapped up the latest gadget, which at the time cost the equivalent of a month’s minimum wage. Now, anecdotes are useful for illustration purposes but hard evidence is always best.

To the BatCave then.

Partly out of loyalty and partly because I get their newsletter, I read a lot of LSE publications and am particularly keen on EU-wide mega-surveys feeding central planner porn to EU officials with names straight out of Star Trek.

I was particularly keen to read this latest offering – a survey of children's experiences of the internet around Europe (full report). As expected, this spreads the evidence quite thinly over the Eurocrats’ pre-drafted policy toast: the internet is full of disturbing stuff for children (who, when quoted, seem to be talking mainly about spam, ads and malware – the report plays very well on the double meaning of the word ‘disturbing’).

It also finds that parents need help controlling what kids see and are grateful when nice social workers give them a ‘toolkit’ for doing this. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

Amidst all of this muppetry, I found a massive gem. Feast your eyes, friends, on the chart below, taken straight from the report. Apparently two thirds of Greek kids access the internet on their phones. That’s twice as many as in the UK and over 1.5 times the percentage of the second-ranked country. Another 12% uses other handheld devices which I suppose range from Blackberries to PDAs, iPads and the like.

 Wow. This, by the way, is not a sampling error of some sort. The Greek sample is 1,000 strong, and the Greek internet-accessing sample is 87% of that. It is also not a matter of timing as the Greek fieldwork was carred out between 10 May and 2 July 2010. So overall, 68% of Greek kids browsed, post-IMF, on a mobile device and the error attached to this estimate is tiny. Not too shabby!

Next up, EU poll shows an alarming number of Greek pets have gold-plated teeth.


  1. May I remind you (in case you have forgotten) that this is also the land where the minimum cost of getting laid (i.e., two beers at a medium-priced bar, two 1.5 hour integrated tickets and 3 condoms) is €20, surely the highest in the EU.

    What, why are you staring at this comment, what do you think our youth are doing on the Internet, reading the LSE newsletters or something? :D

  2. @Manos - We need to do something about mistaken identity here! I trust you to know exactly what the minimum cost of anything is though.

    Sadly the LSE researchers did not think to ask boys whether they wank themselves silly to internet porn (the data I was originally looking for).

    But I guess that's not something the taxpayer needs to pay to find out.

  3. @Manos: All together now: 'The internet is for p0rn...'


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