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.
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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.