Nine of 10 Parents Think They Should Have Chief Responsibility For Kids’ Internet Safety Print
News Releases - General Info
Written by Scott Treibitz   
Tuesday, 15 August 2006 00:18
ImageWashington, DC – While 90 percent of parents and guardians of children ages 8-18 think they should have a lot of responsibility for ensuring kids’ online safety, only one-third of them see themselves as “very knowledgeable” about how to educate their children to use the Internet safely and responsibly. Image

New Poll

Nine of 10 Parents Think They Should Have Chief Responsibility For Kids’ Internet Safety

Only One-third Feel “Very Knowledgeable” About How To Do It

 Tip Sheet for Parents Recommends Strategies to Ensure Kids’ Safety Online

Washington, DC – While 90 percent of parents and guardians of children ages 8-18 think they should have a lot of responsibility for ensuring kids’ online safety, only one-third of them see themselves as “very knowledgeable” about how to educate their children to use the Internet safely and responsibly.

A new Cable in the Classroom poll conducted by Harris Interactive® also found that 71 percent of parents think schools should have a lot of the responsibility for making sure children’s online experiences are safe ones, and some have turned to their schools for advice (42 percent). Only about half of parents (49 percent) think that government and law enforcement agencies should have “a lot” of responsibility for ensuring that children have safe experiences on the Internet.

“We know that most parents have positive views of the value of the Internet for children, and they want to be in charge of making certain that their kids’ online experiences are safe and enriching,” said Douglas Levin, senior director of education policy for Cable in the Classroom. “Yet, as the Internet continues to change and evolve at a breathtaking rate, most parents don’t feel completely confident about how to keep their kids safe, and they are looking for help.”

According to the Cable in the Classroom poll, one in ten parents (10 percent) say they are “not at all knowledgeable” about how to guide their children’s safe and responsible use of the Internet, and another 2 percent say they have done nothing to ensure safe and responsible use. 

The vast majority of parents (94 percent) have taken some steps on their own to ensure their children’s safe and responsible use of the Internet, including talking to them about how to use the Internet (88 percent), monitoring online activities (82 percent), confining home Internet use to the living room or other open spaces (75 percent), setting limits on time online (74 percent), and installing software to limit or block their child’s online activities (55 percent). 

To support parents’ efforts to guide their children to make the best use of the Internet and other media technologies, Cable in the Classroom (CIC) has created a series of tips and strategies for families. According to the recommendations, maintaining an open and respectful dialogue with children is key to help them feel comfortable coming to parents for guidance when they see something that concerns or confuses them. This kind of approach, says CIC, “will ensure children gain the knowledge and learn the skills they need to cope when parents aren’t there to guide and protect them.”

Among the strategies outlined:

-      Set basic ground rules, explain the rules, and discuss why they are important. Rules include “Think before you post. Don’t post words or pictures you would not want your parents, teachers, or future employers to see”; “Cheating, plagiarism, stealing, and harming others or their property is as wrong in the online world as it is in the real world”; “Do not post pictures or videos that could identify who you are, or where you live or go to school.”

-      Use parental controls, keep an eye on what kids do online, and take advantage of the appropriate technology tools. Recommendations include asking the Internet Service Provider about any parental controls available; installing a content filter and/or monitoring filter and learning how to check the computer’s Internet history to see what sites a child has visited; becoming familiar with online games, blogs, and social networking sites a child might visit, and having kids tell you how it works and what they’ve posted.

-      Instill media literacy skills by talking about how to find, analyze, evaluate, interact with, and create information online. Advice includes “Don’t scold or they might withhold. If parents are overly afraid or critical, kids may clam up. Listen to what they like about using the Internet and what concerns they have, keeping open trusting, two-way communication”; “Don’t panic. Take some precautions, educate yourself and your child and enjoy taking advantage of all the online world has to offer”; “Help your child analyze how websites are put together and what their owners are trying to achieve with each design element” and “Help your child think about how different audiences will perceive what they post online.”

“Considering the Internet’s enormous educational potential and the vital role media and technology play in the 21st century workplace, it’s increasingly important for parents and schools to help equip children with media literacy skills,” said Helen Soule, executive director of Cable in the Classroom. “The tips for parents are a great place to begin.”

For more information about the poll and recommendations for parents, along with related research about children’s Internet use, please visit: www.ciconline.org .

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Cable in the Classroom (CIC), the cable industry’s education foundation, works to expand and enhance learning opportunities for children and youth. Created in 1989 to help schools take advantage of educational cable programming and technology, CIC has become a leading national advocate for media literacy education and for the use of technology and media for learning, as well as a valuable resource for educational cable content and services for policymakers, educators, and industry leaders.