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Facebook and Social Media

Eight in ten (77%) parents with children between the ages of 12 and 17, inclusive, are concerned that their child could encounter sexual predators online, with a majority (51%) indicating that they are “very concerned” and a quarter (26%) saying they are “somewhat concerned,” according to an Ipsos Reid poll of Canadian parents.

According to the results of the Ipsos survey:

  • Parents are also concerned with their child potentially encountering pornographic websites (74%), fraudulent scams (70%), inappropriate language (68%), and cyber-bullying (60%).
  • In an attempt to monitor the content of websites that their children are visiting, almost two thirds (62%) of Canadian parents say that they have visited the websites that their child has visited.
  • Similarly, two thirds (65%) use their internet browser’s history function on an ongoing basis to see what sites their child has been visiting.
  • Furthermore, two thirds (66%) of parents monitor the online activities of their child while on the computer at home.
  • Women (65%) are more likely than men (56%) to say they have visited the websites that their children visit in order to monitor content. Women (67%) are also more likely than men (61%) to use their browser’s history function for this purpose.
  • Most Canadian parents (92%) have discussed the possible dangers of the internet with their children.
  • Three quarters (74%) have sat down and clearly communicated what are acceptable and not acceptable online activities.
  • Equally, 74% have instructed their child on what to do if they are contacted by a stranger online.
  • A similar proportion asks children about who they are chatting to online (77%), and explicitly asks their children about which websites they are visiting (74%).
  • However, only half (49%) of Canadian parents with children aged 12-17 are familiar with their child’s online aliases.
  • Also, when asked about their familiarity with some common online products that their children might be using, many Canadians claimed that they were not familiar with some of these products:
    • Just 11% were unfamiliar with instant-messaging products.
    • One quarter (26%) of parents were unfamiliar with YouTube, despite its increased coverage in the media.
    • One third of parents with at least one child aged 12-17 were unfamiliar with blogs (31%) and MySpace (32%).
    • Despite its popularity among young people, four in ten (41%) Canadian parents were unfamiliar with Facebook
  • If their child were a victim of any sort of negative experience online, only half (53%) of Canadian parents say they know whom to contact.
  • Also, only six in ten (58%) know where to download parental control software, and just 54% know where do find materials to help them or their children become informed about internet safety.
  • One quarter (22%) of Canadian parents do not know where to find any of these materials.
  • Just over one third (36%) of parents are initiating parental controls on their internet browser; even fewer (31%) are posting rules for their children to follow by the computer.
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