Parents Say Technology Hurts Efforts to Keep Kids Safe
by Leslie Meredith, TechNewsDaily Senior Writer
April 11 2012 05:21 PM ET
Oh, the old days when a mother could stand within a discreet distance to monitor her daughter's phone calls and tap her watch when the call ran too long. And when the kids were home, she knew they were safe. But today — thanks to smartphones and computers — it's not so easy to head off problems like sexual predators and bullying.
Forty percent of parents with older kids said that technology is a hindrance in the everyday battle to keep their children safe in a survey by Harris Interactive. The research firm surveyed 300 parents of children ages 10 to 17, on behalf of SpectorSoft, a maker of monitoring software.
"There is so much happening online and on smartphones that they can’t see, and they are scared because the stakes are so high and their children are unprotected," Lisa Shaw, director of online teen safety for SpectorSoft, said in a statement.
And concern skyrocketed among single parents — 63 percent said that smartphones and computers were making it harder to keep their kids safe.
Fears were highest among parents living in the Northeast than in any other part of the country, registering 50 percent compared to 30 percent of parents in the South.
So what's a parent to do? In another study released today (April 11) by protection software company MinorMonitor, 50 percent of the 1,000 parents surveyed said they log into their child's Facebook account to keep their kids safe. Half of those parents do it by "friending" their child, but the other half log on without their child's knowledge. However, this type of surveillance is time-consuming and unreliable, Mike Betron, general manager of MinorMonitor said.
"This simply provides a false sense of security as children are still able to engage in private conversations and post questionable material without their parents seeing this as a friend," Betron said.
Parents can install monitoring software on their kids' phones and computers, but there's really no replacement for keeping the lines of communication open.