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Majority of Parents are Engaged in Protecting Their Kids Online

by Employee Emeritus ‎09-19-2011 10:09 AM - edited ‎09-19-2011 04:20 PM

Jack McArtneyOur guest blogger today is Jack McArtney.  Jack manages issues surrounding online safety for Verizon.  He also has played a key role in the introduction of Verizon Safeguards and numerous parental control products and services for Verizon customers.


Today’s message focuses on a survey that was released last week by the Family Online Safety Institute, or FOSI.  It had some pretty encouraging findings.


The study, which was conducted by Hart Research Associates (HRA), polled 702 parents of children aged 8-17 years and, according to HRA, they found out the following:


  • Parents are aware: Eighty seven percent of parents report awareness of at least one of the five types of parental controls tested in the survey: a tool or program offered by a software company, Internet service provider, a wireless company, a search engine, or video game. The use of parental controls is highest among parents with post-graduate education, parents who use social media and those under the age of 40.


  •  Parents are concerned: Although not all use parental controls, most parents express concern about various online activities. The top concern is that children are receiving sexually explicit information or pictures (70 percent).


  • Parents are getting involved: The most common reason given for not using parental controls (60 percent) is that parents believe they are not necessary because they have their own rules and limits in place regarding Internet use. However, nearly all parents (93 percent) say they have set rules or limits to monitor their children’s online usage. These rules include requiring children to only use the computer in a certain area of the house (79 percent), limiting the amount of time a child can spend online (75 percent), setting rules for the times of day a child can be online (74 percent), and establishing time limits for use of a child’s cell phone (59 percent).


  • Parents are looking to the future: Recognizing that computers are no longer the only way children access the Internet, 26 percent of parents feel very knowledgeable about protecting children’s safety and privacy on smartphones, and 45 percent feel fairly knowledgeable. Meanwhile, 33 percent of parents feel very knowledgeable about protecting children’s safety and privacy on gaming consoles, and 53 percent feel fairly knowledgeable.


These results validate so much of the good work that FOSI and others have been doing to make parents aware of the importance of their role in helping to keep kids safe online.  That’s why companies like Verizon, Google, Microsoft and AT&T supported this research.


While the study is encouraging, it also indicates there is still work to be done to raise awareness, especially around wireless parental controls. We have solutions for our wireless/smartphone consumers at  Verizon will also continue to focus on raising awareness with wireless consumers so that they feel as comfortable managing their family's smartphones and tablets as they do managing television, games and the home computer.


Adam Thierer, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University where he works with the Technology Policy Program, wrote in Forbes’ blog this week about the study. Thierer also notes that challenges remain, but the good news is, “there has never been a time in our nation’s history when parents have had more tools and methods at their disposal to help them decide what constitutes acceptable media content in their homes and in the lives of their children.”


I encourage you to read more about this study, both on Thierer’s blog post as well as on FOSI’s website where you will find the entire survey.  It’s important reading for parents everywhere.

by EduardoSerra on ‎10-12-2011 11:59 AM

Thank you very much for sharing such interesting results. In spite of the achieved results, I agree that there is still work to be done to raise awareness in helping to keep kids safe online. Telefónica published a post

on its Pubic Policy Blog that describes its initiatives to promote child on-line safety.

Making a Difference for Our Customers & Communities
The Responsibility Blog — Learn how Verizon is using communications technology to connect people to the larger resources of the community—education, health care, accessibility and safety—in ways that make lives better. Visit the Verizon Communications Corporate Responsibility Report. We hope you will share your views with us.

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About the Authors

Rose Kirk

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James oversees Verizon’s supply chain, vehicle fleet, investment recovery, purchasing and materials management and sustainability initiatives.

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Jack promotes digital wellness and online safety. He works with parents, educators, service providers, application developers and industry leaders to foster responsible use of Verizon's mobile and broadband networks.

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