Parents brave Internet child-rearing

No doubt, parenting has changed in the Internet Age, and a new study tries to reveal how mom and dad are dealing with it.

No doubt, parenting has changed in the Internet Age, and a new study tries to reflect on how mom and dad are dealing with it.

Proving that parents are tackling new issues, a majority of those surveyed (roughly 400 parents in the United States) said that in the last year they've had an "Internet-related issue" with their child, according to a poll conducted by Harris Interactive for the nonprofits Common Sense Media and Cable in the Classroom (PDF). At least half of the parents reported that their child was exposed to advertising or commercialism online; a third of parents said the Internet sucks too much of their child's time; and a quarter said that the Web prevented their child from exercising. The results of the study, which was conducted in August, were released Tuesday.

One in four parents said their child was exposed to either adult content, violent material or coarse language online. One in five parents said the Web takes away from homework.

That aside, adults who are active in their kids' online activities tend to look on the bright side of how the Internet helps instead of hurts. The majority of parents--85 percent--have talked to their kids about how to be safe online in the past year, and 93 percent have taken some action to ensure their protection or to approve visited sites. (Yet only one in four parents of children ages 6 to 10 have talked to them about online safety, despite more kids getting online at younger ages.) An overwhelming majority of parents said that the Web has helped their child learn new skills, discover different cultures, express themselves creatively, socialize better and get information that helps them succeed in school.

"The results suggest that most parents balance the Web's dangers and benefits--they talk to their kids about the issues they encounter and work to make the Web a helpful tool," Common Sense Media CEO James Steyer said in a statement.

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    Stefanie Olsen covers technology and science.

     

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