American Kids More Likely to Face Restrictions Online
Overall, about two-thirds (64%) of the 10,000 teenagers and young adults with home Internet access surveyed by Ipsos-Reid said their parents set neither curfews nor time limits, nor monitor or restrict the content of what they see online, either through verbal instructions or such devices as filtering software programs. Still, the research company discovered wildly varying approaches among parents around the world when it comes to supervising Internet usage.
"European parents seem to have a much more relaxed attitude when it comes to what and how their children see and surf online," said Ed Morawski, VP of Global Research for Ipsos-Reid in New York. "The European approach to parenting is generally much more open and you can see this behavior online as well.
"The interesting paradox in North America is that while most parents pay for their kids' Internet access, they're far more likely to restrict or monitor what sites they visit. Parents here exhibit both liberal and puritan behaviors. It's like taking your kid to a candy store, but telling them what to choose."
In the U.S., about 40% of American youth report some form of Internet time or content limits, the second-highest level among the 16 countries surveyed. (Kids in the U.K. reported slightly higher restrictions.) They are also much more likely than youth in other countries to have restrictions on what sites they can visit and report that their parents have installed filtering software on their home computers. The 12-17 age group face far greater restrictions than do young adults aged 18-24. The percentage of teenagers under 17 who report some form of limitation on what they can see jumps to 52%, compared to 18% for 18-24-year olds.
One-in-five (19%) Americans between the ages 12 and 24 with home Internet access said that their online activities are limited by filtering software. By contrast, only 4% of surveyed youth with home access in France, 3% of them in Italy and Sweden, and 2% of them in the Netherlands face this same limitation.
Nearly three-in-ten American youth (28%) also report some form of parental monitoring or restrictions over the sites they visit, compared with only 8% of youth in Spain and 10% in Sweden.