Parenting the MySpace Generation


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In a presentation designed to help parents and caregivers make sense of their kids evolving use of the Internet, Cable in the Classroom (CIC) participated in the annual PTA Back-to-School Media Briefing in New York on August 10, 2006. Entitled "Parenting the MySpace Generation," the CIC presentation (delivered by Douglas Levin, Senior Director of Education Policy) featured new findings from surveys of parents and educators about how to ensure children use the Internet safely and responsibly.

Presentation materials - as well as a fact sheet and strategies for parents - can be found on our website at:

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Parenting the MySpace Generation

  1. 1. Parenting the MySpace Generation August 10, 2006 | PTA Back-to-School Media Briefing Douglas Levin | Senior Director, Education Policy
  2. 2. Today’s Kids: Tech-Savvy and Online <ul><li>The vast majority of American kids use the Internet – at rates even greater than adults. </li></ul><ul><li>Kids are going online at younger and younger ages. </li></ul><ul><li>Kids who go online tend to use the Internet frequently. </li></ul><ul><li>Kids tend to be more tech-savvy than the adults in their lives. </li></ul>Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project.
  3. 3. Today’s Kids: Constantly Connected <ul><li>Kids access the Internet from a variety of locations: * </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Home </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>School </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Friends’ and Relatives’ Homes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Library & Community Centers/Clubs/Churches </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Heading back to school, kids’ backpacks are now Internet-enabled: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Laptops </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cell phones </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Video game players </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>iPods/MP3 players </li></ul></ul>* Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project.
  4. 4. Today’s Kids: Not Just Surfing the Web, But Actively Contributing <ul><li>Like adults, kids create and share content with others online. * </li></ul><ul><li>Most online teens have a profile on a social networking site. ** </li></ul><ul><li>The Internet continues to change and evolve at a breathtaking rate! </li></ul>** Source: Teenage Research Unlimited. * Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project.
  5. 5. Parents Views of Kids on the Internet: New Benefits and New Challenges <ul><li>“The Internet overall has been a good thing for my child.” </li></ul><ul><li>“Helps teens do better in school.” </li></ul><ul><li>“Not careful enough about the information they disclose online.” </li></ul><ul><li>“Doing things online they wouldn’t want their parents to know about.” </li></ul>Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project.
  6. 6. NEEDED: New Insights into Parents’ Views and Actions <ul><li>Harris Interactive ® conducted a survey on behalf of Cable in the Classroom of a nationwide cross section of 374 U.S. adults ages 18 and over who are parents or legal guardians of a child ages 8-18. </li></ul><ul><li>Figures for age, sex, race, and region were weighted where necessary to align with actual proportions in the U.S. population. </li></ul><ul><li>Telephone survey conducted between July 27 th – 31 st , 2006. </li></ul><ul><li>The margin of error at 95% confidence is +/- 5%. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Who Should Be Responsible for Ensuring the Safety of Children Online? <ul><li>9 out of 10 parents think they should have a lot of responsibility for ensuring Internet safety. </li></ul><ul><li>7 of 10 think schools should have a lot of responsibility. </li></ul><ul><li>5 in 10 think government and law enforcement agencies should have a lot of responsibility. </li></ul>Source: Cable in the Classroom/Harris Interactive (July 2006).
  8. 8. 94% of Parents Have Taken Some Action to Ensure Their Children’s Safe/Responsible Internet Use <ul><li>Talked to your child about how to use the Internet safely and responsibly </li></ul><ul><li>Monitored your child’s online activities </li></ul><ul><li>Limited Internet use at home to the family room or other open space </li></ul><ul><li>Set time limits on your child’s use of the Internet </li></ul><ul><li>Installed software to limit or block your child’s online activities </li></ul><ul><li>Sought advice from other parents </li></ul><ul><li>Sought advice from your child’s school </li></ul>Source: Cable in the Classroom/Harris Interactive (July 2006).
  9. 9. Actions Taken by Parents to Ensure Their Children’s Safe/Responsible Internet Use Source: Cable in the Classroom/Harris Interactive (July 2006).
  10. 10. Yet… <ul><li>Only one-third of parents think they are “very knowledgeable” when it comes to educating their child or children about how to use the Internet safely and responsibly. </li></ul>Source: Cable in the Classroom/Harris Interactive (July 2006).
  11. 11. How Knowledgeable Parents Feel When it Comes to Educating Their Children About Safe/Responsible Internet Use <ul><li>36% of parents believe they are less than knowledgeable when it comes to educating their children about safe/responsible Internet use. </li></ul><ul><li>10% believe they are not at all knowledgeable. </li></ul>Source: Cable in the Classroom/Harris Interactive (July 2006).
  12. 12. A Larger Role for Schools? <ul><li>4 in 10 parents have sought advice from schools to help ensure their children use the Internet safely/responsibly. * </li></ul><ul><li>Educators know kids spend several hours a day outside of school using the Internet and other technology/media. ** </li></ul><ul><li>The majority (60%) of classroom teachers think the teaching of information/media literacy skills in their schools is emphasized less than it should be, and 78% report learning media literacy skills primarily on their own. ** </li></ul>** Source: Cable in the Classroom/Grunwald Associates (March 2006). * Source: Cable in the Classroom/Harris Interactive (July 2006).
  13. 13. A 3-Part Strategy to Ensure Safe/ Responsible Internet Use <ul><li>Because kids go online from many locations, parents need a comprehensive strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Cable in the Classroom recommends a simple 3-part strategy: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Set rules </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use parental controls </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Instill media literacy skills </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. PART 1: Set Rules for Your Children <ul><li>Do not give personal information to online strangers. </li></ul><ul><li>Do not post pictures or videos that could be used to identify you. </li></ul><ul><li>Do not meet in person anyone you have met only online. </li></ul><ul><li>Treat others as you would like to be treated. </li></ul><ul><li>Cheating, plagiarism, stealing, and vandalism are wrong online, as in the “real” world. </li></ul><ul><li>Tell your parent if anything makes you uncomfortable. </li></ul>
  15. 15. PART 2: Use Available Parental Control Technology <ul><li>Place Internet-connected computers in common areas of the home. </li></ul><ul><li>Set rules about when and how long children can go online – and what they can do online. </li></ul><ul><li>Monitor what they are doing online. Employ parental controls whenever available on websites. </li></ul><ul><li>Install software to filter/block sites you deem inappropriate for your family. </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure you have up-to-date virus protection, a firewall – and regularly scan for adware/spyware. </li></ul>
  16. 16. PART 3: Instill Media Literacy Skills <ul><li>Rules and technology are helpful, but not perfect. Don’t panic, and don’t scold or they might withhold! </li></ul><ul><li>Learn with and from your children about how the Internet continues to change and evolve. </li></ul><ul><li>Help children realize they may not be getting the whole – or most accurate – story from one source (online or off). </li></ul><ul><li>Learn about the tools of the trade: ask whether sites intend to inform, persuade, or entertain? </li></ul><ul><li>Examine values and beliefs behind websites, blogs, and streaming videos – and consider how what you post online reflects on you. </li></ul>
  17. 17. For more ideas and information, please visit us online at