google_voice_searchIf you have been using the internet long enough, chances are you should be able to tell an ad from Google and an actual search link, especially since ads from Google are usually placed at the top and highlighted or sometimes have the word “ad” placed next to them. However it turns out that maybe teens these days aren’t particularly perceptive.

According to a report published by Ofcom (via The Verge), the UK’s telecoms watchdog, it seems that teens these days are having trouble differentiating ads from actual search links. The association conducted a study and found that only a third of those aged 12-15 knew which search results were ads, and which were actual links.

This number went even lower for those aged 8-11, less than one in five knew apparently. Speaking to the Financial Times, Ofcom’s director of research, James Thickett said, “The internet allows children to learn, discover different points of view and stay connected with friends and family, but these digital natives still need help to develop the knowhow they need to navigate the online world.”

No doubt this works out in the favor of Google and the companies advertising their products. However we suppose to be fair, some of the participants in the study might have been a bit too young to begin with. After all how many of us have fallen for ads on TV when we were growing up, right?

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