Kids and the Internet – What Parents Worry About

A new survey commissioned by the Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland was released this week. The study polled 1,000 adults, and provides a deep dive into children’s online safety. The results were compared to a similar study done 13 years ago and some of the data, and trends versus the previous version may surprise you.


  • Most worried about: 32% of respondents listed “exposure to dangerous people” as their top concern
  • 2nd most worried about: 20% listed “access to adult pornography” as their top concern – was the top concern 13 years ago
  • Cyberbullying is number three concern, with 16% of respondents selecting this option – was not highly ranked in 2001

That predator risk and cyberbullying are rising concerns should not come as a surprise. For the original survey conducted in 2001, not many kids were using the internet, and social media practically didn’t exist (Myspace wasn’t created until 2003).
kara-zidarOther areas of concern, in descending order of importance:

  • Access to violent material
  • Neglecting other activities
  • Sharing inappropriate content
  • Spending too much time on social networks
  • Using location based services
  • Spending too much time playing online games
  • Exposure to advertising

It is ironic that here in the U.S. the principal piece of legislation designed to protect children online, COPPA, deals principally with kids’ exposure to advertising, a relatively minor concern among parents surveyed.

Other report findings:

  • 64% of parents agree with the statement “the positive aspects of Internet use outweigh the negatives” vs. 61% in 2001
  • 40% of parents do not use monitoring software for their children’s devices
  • 30% of parents do not monitor kids’ online activity at all
  • 74% of parents agree that parents are primarily responsible for keeping kids safe online

Clearly parents know that they should take steps to keep their kids safe online, but many are not doing any monitoring, electronic or otherwise. We understand that some parents aren’t willing to put monitoring software on their kids’ devices because of the trust issue. At ThirdParent, we recommend that parents take a hands-on approach, and our service is designed to facilitate just that. Our initial audit acts as a starting point, and guides parents as to what to be looking for and serious issues that require attention.


Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.

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