The Internet isn’t as safe as many parents tend to believe. Online child predators, cyber-bullying, and child exploitation are rampant. According to the National Institute of Missing and Exploited Children, as many as 61 per cent of teens (ages 13 to 17) have an Internet profile and are very active online.
A study by Cox Communications in conjunction with the Center for Missing and Exploited Children found that 51 per cent of parents do not have safety software on their computers, 57 per cent did not know common instant messaging abbreviations, but 61 per cent allow their children to participate in online chats within chat rooms and Internet messaging.
Children’s Impression of Safety
A study by George Washington University found that 54 per cent of the children ages 9 to 12 either thought it was safe to meet someone online, or were unsure about it. 25 per cent revealed their real names online, and 25 per cent thought it was safe to post their address.
Cox Communications found that 71 per cent of teens in their study have received messages from strangers, 45 per cent were asked for personal information, and another 30 per cent have entertained the idea of meeting a stranger that they’ve met online.
The same Cox Communications study revealed that 33 per cent of teens said their parents knew little to nothing about their Internet activities. Of the older teen crowd (ages 16 to 17), 48 per cent said their parents knew little to nothing about what the teen does online.
Exposure to Sexual Content
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Enough is Enough organisation found that 1 in 33 children and teens were sexually solicited, aggressively, online. Only 25 per cent of these children told their parents.