Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing just released new research we commissioned, Parental Involvement in Children's Social Networking Activities, along with an executive summary and PowerPoint Presentation. The survey has some good news – the overwhelming majority of parents are involved in their children’s social networking activities – but also some cause for concern, because many parents are allowing their children to sign up for social networking accounts before they meet the minimum age requirements.  Cross-Tab Marketing Services conducted the survey of 1,051 parents of 5-17 year olds in August, 2010.  Among the important findings:

 

·        Overall, 67% of the parents surveyed report their child has a social networking account.

·        Parents overwhelmingly believe (95%) they are primarily responsible for keeping their children safe when using social networks.

·        Most (67%) help set up accounts, discuss the benefits and risks, and monitor usage.

·        Parents mainly monitor behavior by “friending” their child in their social network (56%), checking their browser history (52%) or logging into their account (49%). They rarely use monitoring software for this purpose (10%).

·        The social networking risks parents fear most are sexual predators and identify theft.

Parental Involvement in Children’s Social Networking Activities is the second installment of social media research from Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing.  Earlier this year we released Online Reputation in a Connected World, which studied the attitudes of both hiring managers and job applicants regarding the use of online information in hiring practices.

 

-- David Burt, CIPP, CISSP