Kids Surf Web More Than Parents Think, and In Ways They Shouldn’t

March 19, 2009 01:02 PM
by Liz Colville
A new survey finds that one in five children has been caught using the Internet in ways parents would not condone.

Savvy Parents, Savvier Kids

Symantec’s second annual Norton Online Living Report surveyed 9,000 parents and children in 12 countries. While the results show that families “overall are getting more savvy about Internet safety,” the statistics concerning childrens’ Internet use were surprising.

“[O]ne in five children admitted getting caught doing something their parents didn't approve of,” PC World reported, “although the survey doesn't define exactly what sort of activities.”

Parents were also found to have underestimated how long their children actually spent on the Internet. “Kids in the U.K. said they actually spent 43.5 hours per month online, far more than the 18.8 hours their parents thought,” PC World noted.

In the U.S., there was a great discrepancy—73 percent to 61 percent—between how often parents thought they knew what sites their kids were looking at, and how often they actually knew, according to the report, which is available as a PDF online.
Also, 47 percent of U.S. parents reported having “reprimanded their child for doing something online they don’t approve of.”

Related Topic: Technology changes family life

“Networked Families,” a study released in September 2008 by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, had some valuable insights about how technology, particularly the Internet and cell phones, is changing family life. Technology is allowing parents to create a “new connectedness” with their children, but old habits are dying off as a consequence. Families “with multiple communication devices are somewhat less likely to eat dinner with other household members,” the report stated.

The report also found that television watching, a group activity, is also being replaced by Internet browsing.

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