More American parents are warning their children about the dangers of going online than about the importance of sexual safety, according to new research.
A survey of over 1,000 parents in the United States conducted by InMyArea.com found that 89% of parents with children aged 12 or older have had an intentional talk about internet safety with their children. By contrast, only 66% of American parents with kids aged 12 or older had purposefully discussed sexual safety with their offspring.
Of those parents with kids aged 12+ who talked to their children about staying safe online, more than half (60%) had engaged in more than one discussion about the topic. By contrast, only 37% of parents with children aged 12 or older had talked to their children more than once about sexual safety.
The survey focused on parents with children aged between 6 and 17. Findings revealed that 82% of parents had talked to their kids about internet safety, with 51% having more than one intentional talk on the subject.
The two most popular internet safety topics covered by parents were protecting personal information (81%) and stranger danger (79%).
More than half of parents had discussed social media and mental health (53%) and cyber-bullying (51%) with their kids.
Sex wasn’t the only issue to take a backseat behind the internet in discussions around safety. Researchers found that only 79% of parents with children aged 15 or older had talked to their kids about driving/vehicle safety.
Of all the parents surveyed, outdoor/wilderness safety had been addressed by just 60%, and fire safety by just 69%.
The survey found a discrepancy between parents’ views on age-restricted internet access and social media policies.
“Most survey respondents believed their children should reach 14 to 15 years of age before having unsupervised access to social media,” said an InMyArea.com spokesperson. ”Yet major platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, require users to be 13 before making an account.”
Results revealed parents’ leading internet concerns for their children as being targeted by a predator (67%), seeing sexually explicit content (65%) and seeing graphic or violent content (60%). More than half (56%) worried that their children would be cyber-bullied.