If you talk to your kids about online safety, they'll listen
Dec 16, 2011 12:03pm
By Emily Eckland, NCSA Managing Editor of Digital Media
On any given day, parents are telling their teenagers to clean their room, do their homework, put their dirty dishes in the sink and to use good judgment when going online.
Well, maybe not the last part.
But they should.
Your teen may be tuning you out when you politely remind (read: nag) them about making their bed for the fourth time that hour.
But as it turns out, they will listen if you talk to them about good online practices.
Parents are the most often cited source of advice and the biggest influence on teens’ understanding of appropriate and inappropriate digital behavior, according to a new report on teens and social network sites from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
In fact, 93% of parents surveyed say they’ve talked with their children about ways to use the Internet safely.
Amanda Lenhart, senior research specialist at the Pew Internet & American Life Project, says if you talk to your kids, they’ll listen.
“A lot of parents say they’ve talked to kids about ways to use the Internet safely,” Lenhart says. “Kids themselves also agreed that parents are having these conversations. Kids remember the conversations and are willing to acknowledge and talk about the fact that they had those conversations.”
Of the teens surveyed, 85% said their parents had spoken to them about good online safety habits.
If you’re planning to speak with your children, here are some tips from the National Cyber Security Alliance’s K-12 Working Group:
Once the conversation is over, many parents – 54% to be exact - choose to monitor their teens’ online activities and 77% of parents check the websites their child has visited.
“Parents are checking to see what information is available online about kids through search engines. They’re checking their profiles, and the browsing history on computers,” Lenhart says.
If you decide to monitor your child’s online activities, here are some suggestions:
And while your teenager may not be asking you for fashion tips, chances are they will approach you if they need help dealing with a negative online experience.
“About one-third of teens told us they go to their parents,” Lenhart says. “Parents are a primary source of information for advice.”
Even in today’s digital age, the old adage rings true: it takes a village to raise a child.
“Teachers and school staff also play an important role. Even though parents are predominately the main source of information, it’s really throughout the community and the people in their community who they are getting this information from,” Lenhart says.
To read the full “Teens, kindness and cruelty on social network sites” report, visit: http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Teens-and-social-media.aspx