Talking About Safety
The PEW Research Study published in November 2011, “Teens, kindness and cruelty on social network sites” found that parents are more likely to talk with teens about internet safety and how they treat others in cyberspace, but are less likely to monitor or restrict their child.
Between 87% and 94% of parents reported that they had talked to their kids about what kinds of things should not be shared on the Internet or cell phone, ways to use the Internet and cell phones safely, ways to behave towards others online and how the kids use the Internet and cell phone in general.
Interestingly, the teenagers responded “yes” to between 82% and 88% of the questions above. This may be because kids had forgotten or tuned out the talk, or because parents over reported having had these discussions.
Talking to kids about mobile and Internet safety is the minimum step parents need to take. It can be much more effective to check their online activities, friend them on Facebook, and make use of parental controls available for both the internet and cell phones.
Checking Your Kids’ Online Presence
In the PEW survey 77% of parents say they regularly check to see that websites their kids visit. In addition, 66% of parents have checked to see what information about their teenager is available on the internet.
According to this study, parents in general are likely to favor less technical steps for monitoring their child’s online behavior: 41% do not use any type of parental controls.
The use of parental controls will be discussed in Part 4; Part 3 will address the findings about Friending Your Kids on Facebook as a means of monitoring their social media use.
Have you talked with your kids about Internet and cell phone safety? Have you checked them out online? These are both good steps to take on the way to ensuring your child’s safety in the cyber world.
Tim Woda is a passionate advocate for protecting children from today’s scariest digital dangers – cyberbullying, sexting and online predators. He is the co-founder of uKnow.com, developers of uKnowKids.