MinorMonitor Surveys 1,000 Parents of Children on Facebook, Shares Results on Realities, Parental Concerns

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38% of Children on Facebook Are 12 or Under, 40 of 1,000 are 6 years old or younger; Number One Concern of Parents Is Online Sexual Predators.

Free resources like MinorMonitor make it easy to ensure that age-appropriate children are protected and using the Internet responsibly, while allowing them the freedom to engage online, said Jeana Lee Tahnk, kids' technology expert and writer.

In a survey* of 1,000 parents of children under 18 years old who use Facebook, MinorMonitor found that over 38% of the children with accounts are 12 years old and under which is a violation of Facebook’s minimum age requirement. 74% of parents are concerned about their children’s safety on Facebook, with the majority worrying about sexual predators, at 56%, a far larger percentage than 11 other “worry” categories. Over 50% of parents currently monitor their children’s Facebook activities by logging into their child’s account, with or without their child’s permission. MinorMonitor is happy to share further results of this survey and has developed an infographic, open for use, at http://www.minormonitor.com/infographic/kids-on-facebook.

"As children continue to explore social media at younger ages, it is imperative that parents not only educate their children, but also remain vigilant by monitoring kids' online activity," said Jeana Lee Tahnk, kids' technology expert and writer. "Free resources like MinorMonitor make it easy to ensure that age-appropriate children are protected and using the Internet responsibly, while allowing them the freedom to engage online."

MinorMonitor is a free, web-based parental tool that gives a parent a quick, easy view into their child’s Facebook activities and friends, through knowledge-based analytics. Via an intuitive dashboard, parents can access either a snapshot, or full detail and specifics, of potential dangerous activities such as the friending of online predators, cyberbullying, violence, drug and alcohol use, and sexual references.

Far Too Young to Be So Social
Facebook requires its users be at least 13 years old, yet of MinorMonitor’s 1,000 surveyed, parents said more than 38% were 12 years or younger. And of the 1,000 surveyed, a full – and frightening – 40 children on Facebook are reported to be 6 years old or younger. Given last year’s Consumer Reports data that 20 million active Facebook users are minors, or under 18, following this survey sample, that translates to 800,000 kindergarteners on Facebook. As social networking becomes more prevalent for children at younger ages, the need for parents to oversee activity and safeguard against online predators and cyberbullies is even more critical.

So Many Facebook Worries
MinorMonitor polled parents on whether or not they were worried about their children on Facebook. 74% said yes, they are worried. The survey then dug into the top 12 concerns ranging from sexual predators, strangers, and cyberbullying to sharing too much information, online viruses, identity theft, and Internet addiction to pornography, sexting, drugs, and alcohol. The number one concern of parents was sexual predators, at a resounding 56%. Sharing too much information, strangers, and cyberbullying rounded out the top four, respectively. Interestingly, while 41% said they were concerned about cyberbullying through Facebook use, more troubling was that 30% of parents believed their child already experienced cyberbullying. According to the parents surveyed, one in every three children was cyberbullied, already.

How to Get a Handle on Facebook
With all these kids online, and all these worries, and also survey results showing the majority of kids are spending an average of two hours a day on Facebook, what are parents doing to keep tabs, to protect their children online? As stated, over 50% of the 1,000 parents are monitoring their children on Facebook by logging into their child’s account, with or without their permission. This method requires 24X7 supervision by the parent as deleted content can never be seen. 24% of parents feel they are monitoring their child on Facebook by “friending” them, an extremely ineffective way to get to the heart of real concerning activities. And 17%, or 170 parents just aren’t monitoring their children at all.

“Some parents believe that “friending” their child on Facebook is adequate to ensure safety, ” said Mike Betron, VP and General Manager of MinorMonitor. “This simply provides a false sense of security as children are still able to engage in private conversations and post questionable material without their parents seeing this as a friend. ”

MinorMonitor provides comfort to parents and spares them lots of wasted time digging through mountains of information, and at the same time makes the child feel more comfortable by being –safely – active online. In addition to its tool, MinorMonitor shares great guidance for parents, and children, on its site, with tips on how to use the Internet and social media responsibly, and safely. This includes guides like: Parental Controls: http://www.minormonitor.com/resource/parental-controls/ and Facebook Safety for Kids: http://www.minormonitor.com/resource/facebook-safety-for-kids/

Some high level helpful reminders are:

  •     Know children’s passwords and other login information, and teach your children not to share their passwords or personal information.
  •     Keep Facebook profiles set to private, and know Facebook’s other built-in safety features.
  •     Teach children about “friending” and that all requests from strangers should be declined.
  •     Remind children that information posted online is public.    

As technology changes and minors continue to explore the Internet, it is imperative that parents are aware of the online activities their children engage in and take a proactive role in ensuring their safety. A combination of education and free resources like MinorMonitor can help safeguard children from many types of online threats.

About MinorMonitor
Launched May 2011, MinorMonitor was developed by Austin-based Infoglide, a 15+ year technology company that develops deep security and fraud analytics that monitor and manage online reputations, and screen and detect suspicious activities, behaviors for government (such as the Department of Homeland Security TSA screening program), law enforcement, banking, and other big business customers. Infoglide executives developed MinorMonitor to leverage the company’s analytics and extend them as a service to benefit parents growing increasingly concerned over ensuring their child(ren)’s Facebook activities are safe. For more information, follow the company on Twitter @minormonitor or on facebook http://www.facebook.com/minormonitor.

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*The survey was performed recently by Survey Sampling International. It was conducted to 1,000 parents of their survey board through an electronic questionnaire.

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Laura Beck
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