Survey says: Nearly 40% of American parents let pre-teens run loose on the web

Sometimes you just get some data across your desk that makes you lose faith.  New research from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, shows that just 63% of parents say they are very concerned about their 12-13-year-old’s interactions with people they do not know online.


Doesn’t this just make you a little dizzy? Nearly 40% of American parents aren’t concerned about what their kids are doing online with strangers? What am I missing? Can this possibly be true? Other findings from the survey:

  • 81% of parents of online teens say they are concerned about how much information advertisers can learn about their child’s online behavior, with some 46% being “very” concerned.
  • 69% of parents of online teens are concerned about how their child’s online activity might affect their future academic or employment opportunities, with some 44% being “very” concerned about that.
  • 69% of parents of online teens are concerned about how their child manages his or her reputation online, with some 49% being “very” concerned about that.
  • 63% of parents of teens ages 12-13 say they are “very” concerned about their child’s interactions with people they do not know online and 57% say they are “very” concerned about how their child manages his or her reputation online. For parents with children over 13, the number of “very concerned” parents drops from 63% to 53%.

Folks, parenting is not a democracy. You need to be involved with what your children are doing online and don’t take “but nobody else’s parents care” as an excuse.  Take an active role in monitoring online behavior and who is connecting to your kids! Agree?

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  • Agree. What are the best solutions? I would like to see a list with the best online monitoring tools for parents; however they are just tools and the mindset has to come from the “heart” of the family itself, as indeed you say.

  • Show them what they have won John Pardo…if you understand this, your aging yourself as well. 😉

  • I’m always worries when parents and managers want to be BFF’s. A child will find their own friends, parents need to be parenting, managers need to manage.

  • Best solution? Honestly … mandatory parenting classes. : )

  • Ha! But I believe it was DON Pardo. See, I have aged myself even more! : )

  • Amen. A big problem today. Parents are afraid to parent.

  • Maggie McGary

    I don’t know that this is so much a function of parents not wanting to be parents or say no as much as it’s about parents not understanding these issues for themselves and putting/keeping themselves in a position of ignorance when it comes to online safety and safe/smart use of social media. If I had a dollar for every parent I know who says “I just don’t get why anyone would want to know what people are having for lunch” or “I don’t see how people have time to use this stuff” about Facebook, Twitter and every other social networking platform, I’d have a LOT of dollars. Then if I had another dollar for every parent who does NOT lead by example with their own Facebook or Twitter or Instagram use (drunk photos, inappropriate oversharing, etc) I’d have even more. And don’t even get me started on how schools are failing when it comes to educating students about this stuff–the things my kids (high school-aged) show or tell me each week about stuff students are posting on Twitter or Instagram and the real-life consequences that play out at school (fights, sports teams disqualified from state championships, etc) and the schools say nothing at all…it drives me crazy just thinking about it.

    So I agree this is a huge and sad problem, and one that has serious implications for kids both today and in their futures, and think that the way to go about changing this is educating parents on what they need to know in order to keep their kids safe online…and that it’s only optional at their kids’ own peril.

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