Children's Online Safety Risks Give US Parents Nightmares: Report

by Thilaka Ravi on  November 24, 2009 at 11:10 AM Lifestyle News   - G J E 4
Children's Online Safety Risks Give US Parents Nightmares: Report
Parents across the United States have a wide range of concerns about the safety of their children's lives online, finds a new report.

Eighty-one percent of parents report their children, ages 9 - 17, use the Internet and access Web sites without adult supervision.

Forty-six percent of parents report children ages 9 - 17, who access the Internet by themselves have their own social networking profiles on sites like Facebook, MySpace and BlackPlanet.

Among children, ages 13 - 17, who access the Internet, 66 percent have their own profiles, according to the report released by the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health.

Of parents with kids online, nearly two-thirds are concerned (32 percent very concerned) about online sexual predators.

Similarly, about two-thirds of parents are concerned about loss of privacy (22 percent very concerned) and about one-half (21 percent are very concerned) about their children viewing pornographic material.

On contrary, smaller proportions of parents are concerned about their online kids playing games (35 percent), being the victims of cyber bullying (31 percent), or gambling (17 percent).

"Parents are quite aware of some online safety risks but seem less aware about others," said Matthew Davis, director of the poll.

"We know from other studies that about one in seven children between the ages of 10 and 17 have received sexual solicitation over the Internet and about one in three children have been exposed to sexually explicit material.

"So it's not a surprise that most parents whose kids are online unsupervised are concerned about issues related to sexual predators and pornography. On the other hand, cyber bullying is a very worrisome problem for kids, yet the majority of parents say they are not concerned about it," he added.

Parents of girls who go online have different concerns than parents of boys who go online. For girls, parents' leading Internet concern is sexual predators. For boys, parents' leading Internet concern is viewing pornographic material.

Although lesser concerns, online bullying is much more likely to be a concern for parents of girls (38 percent) than for parents of boys (24 percent), and playing online games is more a concern for parents of boys (42 percent) than for parents of girls (28 percent).

Source: ANI

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