When Mom and Dad Become Big Brother

The Pew Internet & American Life Project released new findings on parental monitoring of teenage children's internet activity. According to Pew, "more than three-quarters (77%) of parents say that they have checked to see what websites their child has visited." Pew also found that "two-thirds of parents of online teens have checked to see what information was available online about their child."
More parents check a child's internet activity now than in 2006, when the figure stood at 65%. Pew writes: "White parents of online teens (83%) are more likely to check the websites of their browsing teens than black parents (75%) or Latino parents (64%). Parents in higher-income households and those with at least a high school diploma are also more likely than others to check up on their teen’s online travels."

Additionally, Mothers who use the internet (75%) are more likely than fathers (55%) to say they check information on their children on the internet. Further, "higher-income parents are more likely to do this than those who live in households with more modest incomes." White and black parents are more likely to report doing so than Latino parents, and parents with higher levels of education are also more likely to research their teenage child's "digital reputation." The percentage of parents of girls aged 14-17 (72%) researching their child's internet reputation far exceeds the 55% of parents who research information on younger sons' internet reputations.39% of parents are friends or connected with their children on social networking sites, but Pew found that this connection comes with an increased likelihood of parent-child conflict. "Teens whose parents report that they are friends with their child on social network sites are more likely than teens who aren’t friends with their parents to say that they had a problem with their parents because of an experience on social media (18% vs. 5%)."

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