An Excerpt from the State of Internet Security Report:
Children are exposed to real risks when they go online. Parents' commitment to understanding their children's online activities and setting age-appropriate rules, along with using software to help monitor and enforce the rules, provide the best combination to protect kids online.
- Almost 60 percent of children three and older are using the Internet.
- Forty-three percent of teens who use social networking sites reported having been contacted online by complete strangers.
- Thirty-seven percent of children ages 11 to 17 reported they had received a sexually explicit email or pop-up advertisement within the past year.
- In homes where children under 18 use the Internet, there was a 28 percent greater incidence of spyware infections in the preceding 6 months.
Discrepancies Between Parents and Kids
Over 70 percent of U.S. 11 to 17 year olds said that their parents ask them about their online activities. Yet, there are still discrepancies between children’s responses and parent responses about Internet use. For example:
- Approximately 46 percent of kids responded that they spend an average of three or more hours on the Internet daily, while approximately 76 percent of parents said their children spend an average of two hours or less per day on the Internet at home.
- Over half of the children said they buy things online at least sometimes while 71.2 percent of parents responded that their 11 to 17 year olds never buy over the Internet.
- Attempts to enact online child protection laws have been fraught with difficulties.
- Several courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have ruled that technical solutions are the most effective means - more effective than laws - to protect children from harmful online content.