This month, Yahoo! honors National Internet Safety Month! Yahoo! is a longtime industry leader in creating an Internet experience that is suitable for children, and for the past 10+ years, I’ve focused on providing parents with advice to educate them on how to protect their children’s online image and to keep them safe as they learn to navigate all the web has to offer. We are focusing on our celebration of Internet Safety month by sharing the results of a survey we commissioned that looked at how parents monitor children’s online behavior and how adults take control of their own digital reputation – the content and information that people post on the web over time including online profiles, comments and blogs. As a result, we are excited to be giving parents a B+ for taking action to protect children online, with a special shout-out to dads.
With Father’s Day approaching this weekend, I want to especially acknowledge the Digital Dads and their efforts to promote online safety for their kids. With the rising popularity of mommy bloggers, there may be an impression that overseeing the family digital domain is solely women’s work… but that’s not the case and dads should be recognized for their efforts! While moms certainly can’t be accused of slacking, today’s dads are taking more action than moms when it comes to promoting online safety. The survey unveiled that 71% of dads (compared to 63% of moms) say they are taking at least one action to help manage their children’s online behavior, including having conversations about respecting the privacy of others and regularly checking their children’s privacy settings.
Today’s digital dads are spending more time with their children. The survey also found that dads are devoting time to help children and teens navigate the Web and other social networking technology. We learned from the survey that more dads than moms use filters to limit where their kids go online, and more dads monitor the time children send text messages. Dads are also more inclined to check to see what personal information can be easily found about their children by searching their names online; with 53% of dads plugging their children’s names into a search engine at least 2-3 times per year (compared to 38% of moms).
Parents are taking action and so you may be wondering, “Why a ‘B+’ and not another grade?” The answer is simple: we are praising parents for taking an active role in creating a safer environment, but there is room for improvement. The survey found that parents are proactive in creating online safety initiatives and are taking steps to keep their children safer online, but we want to encourage parents to more actively find the answers and resources available to help keep their kids safer.
For example, the survey unveiled that 70% of parents talk to their children about online safety at least 2-3 times a year and 74% of parents are connected to their children’s profiles on social networking sites.
Overall, I am encouraged to continue to see that parents (dads and moms!) are taking action in their kids’ online activity. And let’s keep this top-of-mind during National Internet Safety Month and beyond…
For more up-to-date online safety tips and resources for children, parents and educators, head over to Yahoo! Safely where you will find blogs on current issues from national experts, videos and articles on everything from setting up a good password to how to handle cyberbullying.
Yahoo!’s Director of Child Safety and Product Policy