Internet Safety – When Adults Let Kids Down
Children Largely Surf the Web Unsupervised.
The report takes an in-depth look at the various media used by children ages 5-15 (computers, game consoles, cell phones, etc.), where and how frequently they use the media, and the e-safety measures imposed by parents. The results are then broken out in various tables according to age, sex and household income.
The first critical general trend to note is that access to media, be it via television, the internet or other sources, continues to increase. While actual use varies, the two other most noteworthy trends include children using the internet at ever-younger ages but that their preference for television drops off with age.
The first somewhat troubling result is that more than a third of 12-15 year-olds now have internet access in their bedrooms. Yet, just under half of the parents have implemented internet filtering or parental controls, leaving nearly 60% of youngsters in the 12-15 age group to use the internet unsupervised.
A second troubling trend is that one in six users aged 5-7 are also mostly left to use the internet unsupervised as well. According to the survey results, most parents “say that they trust [their] child to use the internet safely.”
As for utilizing parental filters for cable television or the internet, a significant number of parents (one in eight) did not know how to set such controls or were unaware that such controls existed.
While there continues to be strong advice for a different set of expectations, one that features televisions, computers and game consoles located in the family room, it would seem parents are giving in and allowing these media to migrate to their child’s bedroom.
Such results likely reinforce the notion that schools must do more in the way of educating children and their parents regarding media literacy, especially basic internet safety measures. In fact, the report may well indicate that parental education may well be the greater priority.