Parents Worry More, But Doing Less to Protect Their Children on the Internet

A new survey says parents are worrying more – but doing less – to protect their children from Internet dangers, such as cyberbullying, online predators, inappropriate content and revealing too much personal information.

According to a survey by FindLaw.com, the most popular legal information website, 76 percent of parents are either extremely worried, very worried or somewhat worried about their children’s online safety. That’s up from 67 percent four years ago.

But despite the growing concern, fewer parents are taking steps to safeguard their children. Two-thirds of parents (66 percent) are taking precautions such as monitoring the Web sites their children visit, restricting their use of social networks, reading their children’s online communications or using site-blocking software, but that number is down from 74 percent four years ago.

“The vast majority of parents are taking at least some steps to protect their children from potentially dangerous aspects of the Internet,” said Stephanie Rahlfs, an attorney and editor with FindLaw.com. “But the numbers are declining. Parents are taking fewer precautions to protect their children, even though parents are more concerned than ever. Protective steps don’t need to be time-consuming or expensive, and can be as simple as having proper privacy settings and knowing what your children are doing when they are online.”

Free Internet resources such as FindLaw.com’s Online Safety section (http://consumer.findlaw.com/online-scams/online-safety.html.) and the FBI Parents Guide to Internet Safety (www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/parent-guide) can provide helpful information on how to protect yourself and your family online.

The FindLaw survey was conducted using a survey of a demographically balanced sample of 643 parents and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4 percent.

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