Parents are parenting!
That’s the unsurprising but nonetheless heartening finding from a new survey of parental attitudes about online child safety and parental control technologies. The July survey, which was conducted by Hart Research Associates on behalf of the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), asked over 700 parents with household Internet access how they were coping with online safety challenges. The results illustrate how parents are taking an active role in mentoring their children as their kids increasingly assimilate digital technologies and the Internet into their lives.
A majority of parents (53%) say they have used parental control tools offered by Internet service providers, mobile operators, search engines, software makers, or video game companies to assist them in monitoring their child’s Internet usage. Regardless of their specific usage, awareness of parental control tools was quite high according to the survey with 87% of parents reporting knowledge of at least one parental control.
The FOSI survey revealed that parental control technologies were not the most important tool or strategy parents utilized. Talking to our kids continues to be the most important approach to mentoring youth and protecting them, just as it was for previous generations of parents. Almost all of the parents surveyed (96%) said they have had a conversation with their child about what to do and not to do online.
Parents supplement those discussions with various household media rules. In a book I penned a few years ago on parental controls and online child protection, I outlined a taxonomy of household media rules and methods that parents use to control media access and online interactions. Some household media rules can be quite formal in the sense that parents make clear rules and enforce them routinely in the home over an extended period of time. Other media consumption rules can be fairly informal, however, and are enforced on a more selective basis.
That’s the unsurprising but nonetheless heartening finding from a new survey of parental attitudes about online child safety and parental control technologies.