The internet is great for researching all sorts of things, but proving the existence of Santa Claus? Apparently it’s good for that too. A little too good.

If parents are struggling to keep their curious and inquisitive kids from taking a gander on the information super highway to determine if the man in red is real or not, they won’t be the only ones.

According to some new research in Australia of over 2000 parents, one in six believes the internet is doing some part in stopping its kids from believing in Santa Claus. In fact, the research also drives down the age when kids stop believe that their presents arrive from a man dress in a fuzzy velvety red suit taken to their house by flying reindeer, because kids these days now stop believing in just over six years of age, compared to the 8.5 year old limit it was a generation ago.

Who’s the culprit?

Research suggests a simple Google search can give the kids the answer they need — is Santa Claus real? — while other kids merely watch when their parents shop online for the presents they receive.

Social media is also playing its part, apparently, with one in ten kids seeing a Facebook or Twitter message that tells them of the origins of Claus.

Fortunately, there may be a solution, provided parents are using Google’s Chrome or Mozilla’s Firefox web browsers in the home, and AVG’s HideMyAss virtual private network appears to be coming to the rescue, arriving in on a sleigh of its own.

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The plugin is called “Keep Believing in Santa” and will essentially look up search results, tweets, messages, or information of any kind that might be appearing on the screen where combinations of the words “Santa” and “fake” would be appearing, replacing them with a picture of Santa.

“We all spend so much of our time on the internet that the lines between ‘online’ and ‘offline’ aren’t just blurred, they’ve been erased completely,” said Cian McKenna-Charley, Marketing Director at HideMyAss. “Consequently, as our research shows, this constant connectivity makes it far easier for children to discover online content bringing Santa’s existence into question.”

“Not only is there a higher likelihood of the internet now being the main source of a child’s belief in Santa ending, it can also result in youngsters finding out sooner than for those born before the digital era,” he said.

“With this campaign, we wanted to give parents an optional tool that would allow them to maintain the magic of Christmas and the mystery of Santa for that little bit longer.”

The plugin is free, but does require either Google’s Chrome web browser or Mozilla’s Firefox web browser, though a spokesperson for HideMyAss did tell GadgetGuy that if the plugin is successful, it “may look into extending the plugin to other browsers”.