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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Unsupervised Online Teens & Other Myths

There are a lot of smart parents (and online teens) out there, research is showing.

The former are clearly transferring their parenting skills and policies into cyberspace, and the latter – teenagers – seem to be fine with that. "More than 70% of the adolescents said they'd feel comfortable having their parents look at their MySpace page," a recent survey of MySpacers and their parents in Los Angeles found (see No. 2 below).

In this just-released study by Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg, we find it's simply not true that kids "run rampant on the Internet" unsupervised by clueless parents, as so many have somehow come to believe. The reality is….

Only 26% of teen computer users "work and surf unsupervised, the survey found. Among those who reported restrictions nearly two-thirds said they lived with a ban on downloading music, movies and/or mature content"; nearly 60% can't surf or IM while doing homework; more than 80% aren't allowed to visit social-networking sites "and/or were not allowed to IM with certain people"; 45% have time limits on their computer use and "a similar proportion said they could use the computer only under supervision or in a shared family location." 31% of 12-to-17-year-olds say "their parents check their social-networking sites … and what is put on personal sites."

As for teen social networking overall, you might find this figure surprisingly low, given all the media coverage: The survey found that 29% maintain a MySpace profile; 46% said "yes" to "I go on MySpace or other social-networking sites" (54% said "no").

Despite what fear monger shows like NBC Dateline would have us to believe (cuz it's not nearly as sensational perhaps as visions of kids running wild and pervy online), kids are rather productive and forging a new internet paradigm that should be giving us far different fears - of being left behind.

Check out this podcast reportcourtesy of Jet Set Show for insight (and links) into what some kids are doing with blogs and podcasting.

Also see
Smashcast Labs
Teen Podcasters Network

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