Parental Influence On Kids' Online Behavior

Fifty-two percent of online young people ages 8 to 12 say their parents should worry more about what they see on TV as compared to 48% who say their parents should worry more about what they see online, according to a new Nickelodeon Online/Harris Interactive KidPulse.

The study also found that eight in ten (81%) 8 to 12 year-olds report their parents know where they are going online. Another six in ten (61%) preteens report their parents will not allow them to enter personal information on the Internet. Half (52%) report their parents set limits on how long they can be online.

"Most parents are very involved in their children's online lives," says Melva Goffney, director of research and planning at Nickelodeon Online. "At the same time, parents calibrate their supervision according to their child's age. For instance, nearly nine in ten (88%) 8 to 9 year-olds as compared to three-quarters (76%) of 10 to 12 year-olds say their parents know where they are going online.

Similarly, seven in ten (69%) 8 to 9 year olds say their parents will not allow them to enter personal information on the Internet versus 55% of 10 to 12 year-olds saying the same thing. Clearly, parents tailor rules to reflect their children's level of maturity."

The report also found that one-half (48%) of 8 to 9 year-olds say their parents visit sites before they are allowed to visit them as compared to one-quarter (26%) of 10 to 12 year-olds indicating this level of parental involvement.

Similarly, 59% of younger preteens ages 8 to 9 report their parents set limits on the amount of time they can spend online versus 46% of older preteens reporting time constraints.

In addition, 10 to 12 year-olds are almost nine times as likely as 8 to 9 year-olds to have made a new friend online (35% vs. 4%).

"Rules not only change by age, but certain rules seem to be more strictly applied to girls than boys," notes Peter Silsbee, director of youth research, Harris Interactive. "For instance, overall, one in ten (11%) 8 to 12 year-olds report their parents don't care where they go online.

Notably, twice as many boys report their parents don't care (15%) as compared to girls (7%)."

Divergent behaviors by age and by gender are also expressed through emailing habits. For instance, the report finds that 10 to 12 year-olds receive more than four times the number of emails daily that 8 to 9 year-olds receive. By gender, girls 8 to 12 years of age send twice as many emails daily as boys 8 to 12 years of age (1.4 emails for girls vs. 0.7 emails for boys). Girls also receive slightly more email every day (4.0 emails for girls vs. 3.6 emails for boys).

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