Parents Talk To Kids About Online Behavior, Study Finds

The vast majority of American parents talk to their children about how to be safe and ethical on the Internet, according to a survey published Tuesday.

Researchers for San Francisco-based nonprofit Common Sense Media
and Washington-based education foundation Cable in the Classroom
found that 85 percent of parents and legal guardians of children who go online say they have talked to their child in the past year about how to behave on the Internet.

More than 93 percent say they have taken action to make sure the Web sites their children visit meets parental standards, according to the poll, conducted by Harris Interactive. Results were based on phone interviews in mid-August with 411 parents of 6- to 18-year-olds whose kids were online.

Common Sense Media CEO James Steyer said the results may mollify parents and educators alarmed by a 2005 survey by the Kaiser Family
Foundation, which found that on average American kids between 8 and
18 spend 6.5 hours a day absorbed in media.

That comes to 45 hours a week watching TV or videos, playing with computers or listening to digital music - more than a full time job.

"The results suggest that most parents balance the Web's dangers and benefits, they talk to their kids about the issues they meet, and work to make the Web a helpful tool," Steyer said.

According to the new survey, only one in three parents said their children spent too much time online.

About one in four parents worried that kids weren't exercising or enjoying the outdoors because they were preoccupied with the Internet, and one in four said the Internet distracted kids from schoolwork.

Although four out of five parents said the Internet helped their kids in school, nearly three out of four acknowledged that they've had "issues" with their children's online activities.

Parents said the most troubling issues were excessive exposure to advertising or commercialism online; exposure to coarse language, or sexual or violent content online; and exposure to misleading or bad information online.


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