New Poll: 9 out of 10 Parents Think They Should Have A Lot of Responsibility for Ensuring Kids' Internet Safety; One-Third Think They are 'Very Knowledgeable'

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Ninety percent of parents or legal guardians of children ages 8-18 believe they should bear a lot of responsibility for ensuring children have safe online experiences, although only 34 percent see themselves as “very knowledgeable” about how to educate their children to use the Internet safely and responsibly.

Yet, as the Internet continues to change and evolve, most parents don’t feel very knowledgeable about how to ensure children’s Internet safety and are looking for schools to help.

Ninety percent of parents or legal guardians of children ages 8-18 believe they should bear a lot of responsibility for ensuring children have safe online experiences, although only 34 percent see themselves as “very knowledgeable” about how to educate their children to use the Internet safely and responsibly.

According to a new national poll commissioned by Cable in the Classroom and conducted by Harris Interactive®, 71 percent of parents also think a major portion of the responsibility for ensuring children’s safety on the Internet falls to schools. The poll was released at the PTA Back-to-School Media Briefing held at the New York City Public Library.

“Parents want to take primary responsibility for guiding their kids’ use of the Internet,” said Douglas Levin, senior director of education policy for Cable in the Classroom. “Yet, as the Internet continues to change and evolve, most parents don’t feel very knowledgeable about how to ensure children’s Internet safety and are looking for schools to help.”

Among other key highlights of the survey:

•The vast majority of parents (94 percent) have taken some steps to ensure their children’s safe and responsible use of the Internet, including talking to them about how to use the Internet (88 percent), monitoring online activities (82 percent), confining home Internet use to the living room or other open spaces (75 percent), setting time limits on their use of the Internet (74 percent), and installing software to limit or block their child’s online activities (55 percent).

•A majority of parents say they have sought advice from other parents (54 percent), and many (42 percent) have sought advice from their child’s school.

•One in ten parents (10%) say they are “not at all knowledgeable” about how to guide their children’s safe and responsible use of the Internet.

•Only about half of parents (49 percent) think that government and law enforcement agencies should have a lot of responsibility in ensuring that children have safe experiences on the Internet.

“We know that most parents have positive views of the value of the Internet for children,” said Levin, “and that they are taking steps to make certain these experiences are safe and enriching.”

A related poll of full-time classroom teachers and library/media specialists at K-12 public schools, commissioned by Cable in the Classroom and conducted by Grunwald Associates in March 2006, found that most educators (60 percent) say their schools put less emphasis than they should on teaching media literacy – an important 21st century skill students need to make the best use of the Internet and other media technologies.

“Considering the Internet’s enormous educational potential and the crucial role media, technology, and content play in the 21st century workplace, it’s increasingly important for parents and schools to equip children with media literacy skills,” said Helen Soulé, Ph.D., executive director of Cable in the Classroom.

To help guide families toward responsible Internet use, Cable in the Classroom is recommending a three-step approach including: setting rules, using parental control technology, and instilling media literacy skills.

For more information about the polls and recommendations for parents, along with related research about children’s Internet use, please visit: http://www.ciconline.org

Cable in the Classroom (CIC), the cable industry’s education foundation, works to expand and enhance learning opportunities for children and youth. Created in 1989 to help schools take advantage of educational cable programming and technology, CIC has become a leading national advocate for media literacy education and for the use of technology and media for learning, as well as a valuable resource for educational cable content and services for policymakers, educators, and industry leaders.

Poll Methodology: Harris Interactive conducted a telephone survey on behalf of Cable in the Classroom between July 27 and July 31, 2006 among a nationwide cross section of 374 U.S. adults ages 18 and over who are parents or legal guardians of a child ages 8 – 18. Figures for age, sex, race, and region were weighted where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population. In theory, with a probability sample of this size, one can say with 95 percent certainty that the results have a sampling error of plus or minus 5 percentage points of what they would be if the entire U.S. adult population had been polled with complete accuracy.

Grunwald Associates conducted an online survey on behalf of Cable in the Classroom in March 2006 of a nationwide cross section of 1,045 U.S. full-time classroom teachers of core subject areas and library/media specialists in K-12 public schools. Inherent in any statistical inference is random error associated with the findings. For a sample size of 1,045, the random error of any percentage based on this sample size is about ± 3% at the 95% confidence level.

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