Most Want More Protection for Kids’ Online Info

October 14, 2010

US adults, particularly those who are parents of children younger than 18, have strong reservations about online sites collecting data about minors, according to a new survey from nonprofit social advocacy group Common Sense Media and Zogby International.

8 in 10 Parents Have Never Allowed Child’s Info to be Collected
A strong majority of parents (83%) say they have not agreed to let an online site collect their child’s personal information so that the child could use a web site or service. One in nine parents (11%) say they are not sure if they have done so, and 6% say they have.

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Social Networks Get Poor Rating for Protecting Kids’ Privacy
Three quarters of parents (75%) and 71% of adults say they would rate the job social networks are doing to protect children’s online privacy as negative, with 45% of adults and 44% of parents saying their job is poor. Just 5% of adults and 6% of parents rate the job online social networks are doing positively, with virtually no respondents giving a rating of excellent.

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Search Engines Fare Little Better
Strong majorities of adults (68%) and parents (71%) also say they would rate the job search engines are doing to protect children’s online privacy as negative, with 43% of adults and 42% of parents saying they would rate the job as poor. One percent of adults, and no parents, rate the job search engines are doing as excellent.

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6 in 10 Adults Want Congressional Involvement
A six in 10 majority of both adults (62%) and parents (61%) say they think Congress should update laws that relate to online privacy and security for children and teens. Twenty percent of adults and 23% of parents say they do not think Congress should update laws relating to online privacy and security for children and teens.

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2/3 of Parents Want No Info Collected Before Age 18
A 67% majority of parents, and smaller 54% majority of adults, say they think Congress should update laws that relate to online privacy and security for children and teens so that companies cannot collect online information for children younger than 18. Current laws restrict collecting online data about children younger than 13.

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Only 20% of adults and 23% of parents say they do not think Congress should update laws relating to online privacy and security for children and teens. Small percentages of adults want to see the age raised to 14, 15, 16 or 17, while no parent wants to see the age raised to any younger than 16.

3 in 4 Young Adults Use Facebook
The Edison Research study “Radio’s Future II: The 2010 American Youth Study” indicates that 74% of young adults use Facebook to some degree. By frequency of use, this figure breaks down to 55% actively using Facebook and 19% occasionally using it. Of the remaining 26%, only 4% are unfamiliar with Facebook.

About the Data: Zogby International was commissioned by Common Sense Media to conduct an online survey of 2,100 adults, including a subset who are parents of children younger than 18, from August 13-16, 2010.

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