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More Parents Use Filters to Control Teen Web Use

  |  March 17, 2005   |  Comments

Parents and teenagers agree teens aren't careful enough online.

Use of Internet filters to protect teenager Web surfers has expanded substantially over the last four years, according to a study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Approximately 54 percent of Internet households with teenagers now use filters, compared to 41 percent in December 2000. Given the current online population, this means the number of teens whose Internet use is screened by filters has increased from 7 million to 12 million in the last four years.

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The study was based on a survey of 1,100 parents of 12 to 17 year olds, and an equal number of their children from October 26 to November 28, 2004.

In addition to filters, parents are also trying other techniques to control and monitor their teenagers' Web use. Pew found 73 percent of online teens say their household computer is located in a "public" place in the home. About 64 percent of parents say they set rules for their children's time online.

"It's interesting when you look at non-technological monitoring techniques. All of those have remained stable in the last few years," said Amanda Lenhart, a Pew research specialist. "That's because parents don't have any more time in 2005 than in 2000. But filtering serves as a safety net that can be there to protect teens."

Click on graphic to view chart

"It's important to understand that there is no such thing as a perfect filter," Lenhart said. "Filters under-block and over-block, and there is no substitute for non-technical means, like talking with your kids about the basics of media literacy."

Pew also found parents and teens share similar views about the carelessness of teen behavior online. Approximately 81 percent of parents say their teenagers aren't careful enough online when giving out information about themselves. For their part, 79 percent of teens agree they aren't careful enough when sharing such information.


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