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Parents Fear Internet May Be Stealing Kids' Childhoods

The information age offers kids a precarious form of precociousness.

By Jeremy Greenberg Aug 6, 2012 2:25PM

Photo: Stockbyte/Getty ImagesWhen your kids go online, do you think they’re learning, or losing their innocence? According to a new report by Trend Micro eParenting, many parents are concerned that the information superhighway may just be a road to perdition. Fifty-five percent of the 1,000 parents surveyed believe that they cannot keep their children away from inappropriate content. Even if there are porn filters on home computers, kids can still see things like YouTube videos of car accidents or other graphic images sure to crack the comfortable cocoon of childhood.

However, that fear is not enough to stop parents from supplying their kids with networked technology. Sixty-two percent of the parents surveyed also believe it’s okay to give a child under 13 access to a computer.

So, which is it? Are computers and the Internet corrupting kids, or giving them access to worlds and information previous generations could only dream of? 

"This may be the most difficult time in the history of parenting," Natalie Severino, director, consumer marketing at Trend Micro, a provider of server and cloud-based security, said in a statement. "On one hand you have technological wonders that allow your kids to open their minds and imagination and on the same playground you have new levels of danger."

To confront the risk, 87 percent of the parents surveyed admitted to being Facebook friends with their kids so as to keep a closer eye on their online activities, with an additional 66 percent of parents confessing to following their kids on Twitter. Because, what better way to teach your kids about cyberstalkres than to become one.  

Ironically, for parents who are concerned about the Internet’s effects on their kids, be they elementary schoolers or teenagers, the Internet also offers a lot of great resources for helping a parent keep their kids safe online.  

Only time will tell how the Internet truly influences the current generation of children. But parents would be wise to always talk to their kids about what they see and experience, be it online or at school. You can’t be there for every one of your child’s clicks. But hopefully with good guidance your child will know when to close the browser---and maybe even pick up a book--which will no doubt be on an Internet enabled e-reader. 

Photo: Stockbyte/Getty Images

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Aug 7, 2012 6:48PM

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