A Telling Picture of Internet in the Family

Doug Levin, of Cable in the Classroom, shared a report that seems to present an interesting picture of what the Internet means, from the perspective of parents. Presented yesterday, via a webcast, the report shares the findings of a survey conducted by Harris Interactive®, on behalf of Cable in the Classroom. The survey was conducted between July 27 and 31, of 374 U.S. adults who were either parents or guardians of children between the ages of 8 and 18.

Among the findings was that

94% of the participants said that they have “..taken some action to ensure their children’s safe/responsible Internet use.” I found the breakdown of those actions to be very interesting.

  • 88% say that they have talked to their children
  • 82% monitor online activity
  • 75% limit use to open spaces
  • 74% set time limits
  • 55% installed filtering software
  • 54% sought advice from other parents
  • 42% sought advice from school

This breakdown is encouraging to me. The highest number of parents in the survey acted toward their childrens safety on line by interacting directly with their children, by talking and watching. The more procedural actions were less often stated. I’m not sure if this really means anything, but it goes along with what I hear so much from teachers who use student blogging in their classrooms — that they are having new conversations in their classrooms, conversations about conversations. It’s not just the curriculum and content, but how you communicate about what you know.

Contrary to their reliance on talking to their children, only one-third of parents said that they were “..’very knowledgeable’ when it comes to educating their child or children about how to use the Internet safely and responsibly.” This doesn’t discourage me, because I suspect that it means that they were having true conversations with their children, not just telling them what to do. I think that we have to get use to the idea that this new information landscape is something where expertise is not dependent on age. However, we must continue to accept our responsibilities — because judgement is.

Of course “do you consider yourself an expert or a novice” is a really hard question to try to get a good picture of in a survey. It’s all relative. It was interesting to me that only 10% said that they were “..not at all knowledgeable..”

Apparently, a previous survey, conducted by Grunwald Associates in March, also on behalf of Cable in the Classroom, found that 60% of teachers thing that we are not teaching students enough about information/media literacy. 78% said that what they know about media literacy skills, they learned on their own.

The final result that I want to share was actually the first to appear in the report’s presentation slides. 90% of the survey participants said that parents “..have a lot of responsibility for ensuring Internet safety.” 71% said that schools have a lot of responsibility. 49% said that the government has a lot of responsibility.

Clearly, Internet safety is something that concerns us. But I think that it is just as clear that this new information landscape is something that we value for our children.

You can find more information on the survey and the report on the Cable in the Classroom web site, Parenting the MySpace Generation.

"Parenting the MySpace Generation." Cable in the Classroom. 10 Aug 2006. Cable in the Classroom. 11 Aug 2006 <http://www.ciconline.org/Enrichment/internetsafety/>.

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Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.