As children and teens use the Internet more than ever before, parents continue to face potential problems arising from the trend. Stories highlighting issues affecting teens and kids alike run rampant on television news channels. We’ve all heard of the potential risks attached with youngsters using sites like MySpace and Friendster, such as predators obtaining personal information or even classmates bullying someone via their online profile. Plenty of studies and recent industry reports indicate the browsing habits of youth and their parents’ concerns.
- Over 60% of teens ages 13-17 report having a profile on a social networking site.
- Nearly half of teens with profiles were asked to share personal information with someone they didn’t know personally.
- Over 50% of parents feel the Internet mainly has positive impacts on their kids.
- About 70% of teens have unintentionally encountered adult content when surfing the Web.
- Only 1 in 4 teens who received inappropriate messages online alerted a parent or guardian.
- Nearly half of parents surveyed don’t check out what their children type in chat rooms or instant messages
- Over half of parents surveyed don’t have or don’t know if parental control and monitoring software is installed on their PC’s.
Parental control software is a viable means for concerned parents to regulate what goes in and out of their PC’s. Net Nanny, for example, blocks all adult content and allows parents to fully monitor where their child surfs and what they’re saying in chat rooms or instant messages.
Child Safe, another popular product, is not only simple to use, you can have comprehensive Internet usage reports emailed right to you. Though monitoring your child or teen’s activity is beneficial, it’s still important to allow them some leeway and discuss Web safety in terms they will understand.