A Microsoft research poll conducted on the MSN website has revealed some very concerning statistics about Internet usage among children. I hope this will be a wakeup call for someone with some influence.
Here are some of the findings they published in February, 2011:
The Things I was Happy To Hear
- 87% of parents reported having discussed online safety issues with their children.
- 85% of children report limiting entry to their social media profiles and pages to friends and family.
The Things We All Need to be Really Worried About
- Only 36% of parents use parental controls or web filter software to actively protect their children online.
- 39% of children admitted to using online sites or playing video games that their parents would not approve of them using.
- 67% of children clean their cache so that parents can not check their history to see where they have been online (with a good filter installed parents could still view the history!).
- 36% take absolutely no action to limit or monitor Internet use in their home.
- 44% of parents were not aware of whether their children use privacy setting in their social media profiles to keep strangers out.
- 15% of children admitted to doing something online that was intended to be hurtful to someone else (cyber bullying).
Our children are vulnerable and it is our job as mothers and fathers, educators, etc. to protect them. But we are not. It’s too easy to pass the buck here. Law enforcement have their hands tied until it is too late and something happens. Educators can only do so much to teach kids Internet Safety and as long as no one backs them up, most kids are not going to comply to the warnings and advice. And governments are playing dumb and not taking meaningful action.
The current situation is that unless parents wake up and take responsibility for what their children are doing online, no one else is going to do it. You need to understand that what is available to children and teens – should not be. But it is. And if you don’t take care of ensuring that they are not exposed, they will be. And there are consequences.