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Study Shows Nearly Half of U.S. Parents Do Not Know Their Child’s Passwords

A recent survey showed that more than half of all parents in the U.S. purchased smart phones, tablets or laptops for their children before they entered 5th grade, offering each child direct and private access to the internet.

The study, conducted by AVG polled 893 parents of children ages 3-17. 744 of these parents report having children who own their own connected devices. With easy access to endless information, parents have an added responsibility to monitor their child's online activities, which may not be that simple to do.

According to the study:

  • Nearly 3 in 4 (72 percent) parents of children aged 3-17 that own their own connected device have proactively spoken to their children about the dangers of the internet
  • 56 percent know the password to their children's connected device(s)
  • 41 percent have installed a parental block on those devices.
  • 50 percent say they check their child's activity at least weekly, with about one in five checking their activity less than once a month or not at all (19 percent).

"This survey shows that while the majority of parents have proactively discussed the dangers of the internet with their children, the numbers suggest that many parents are not engaged in knowing what their children are really doing on their devices," said Tony Anscombe, author of From One Parent to Another.

Dr. Matthew Davis, professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, believes concerns about internet safety and sexting are now ranked higher than smoking as a major childhood health issue, adding to the myriad of concerns that already plague worrisome parents.

"We found that while the public may find benefits to today's shifting media environment, whether through cellphones or other technology, many also recognize risks that may make young people vulnerable," Davis said.

The real lesson we can learn from the results of this poll is the fact that advancements in technology have added much value to our society, but it has made parenting much more difficult.

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