Monday, November 24, 2008

New Report: Kids Online Safety

While I was at the Kids Online conference recently, released the results of a survey commissioned to determine the number of parents who speak with their kids about online safety.

More than 500 parents responded to the online poll, and some of the answers were very surprising to me. While a heartening 77% of parents reported having spoken with their children about staying safe online, it was discouraging to me that 75% of parents also indicated their kids access the Internet without supervision.

A parent recently confided in me that she’d discovered her 10-year-old on Facebook. Although her daughter had been savvy enough not to reveal her last name, hometown or other personal information, this parent was still aghast that her daughter had been able to set up the account without her noticing. Although they’d discussed online safety in the past, today that parent is monitoring all Internet use.

As parents, of course it’s important to speak with our children about staying safe. But that one conversation isn’t enough. We taught them how to walk, tie their shoes and ride their bikes, and none of those things were learned in a single afternoon. We owe it to our kids to monitor their online usage and to keep talking with them to keep them safe.

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