Keeping track of kids online: 39% of parents read their child’s email

August 12, 2013, 10:10 AM UTC

Cyber-bullying, online predators and in-app purchasing: phrases that were alien to most parents when they were growing up, but are now top of the list of risks children can face when online.

While 25% of parents said technology has made their job as a mom or dad easier ­– because of its value as a way to entertain kids and even keep track of their activities – 44% of parents said technology has made bringing up a child scarier, as kids have the world at their fingertips at such a young age.

12% of America’s parents said they find the growth in technology overwhelming – not because of a perceived danger, but as they are now able to track what their child does online and even where they go offline, if they have a tracker-enabled smartphone.

Monitoring technology use

Looking at pictures that their son or daughter has uploaded is the method for 45% of moms to keep track of their kids online. 44% of parents said that they make a note of which friends or chat buddies their child has connected with online.

GPS tracking is a monitoring method for 9% of moms and 12% of dads.  Now that smartphones often come loaded with GPS technology it’s become easier for moms and dads to keep track of their kids – or at least their phones – offline as well as online.

Almost a quarter (21%) of parents said that they didn’t monitor their kids at all, saying that they respected their child’s privacy. More moms (25%) than dads (17%) said they didn’t use technology to keep track of their child’s activity.

How much time is too much?

Technology is no different when it comes to good cop, bad cop parenting – kids seem likely to be able to get away with more technology use around dads than moms. 20% of dads and 21% of moms said they don’t impose a limit on how much time their kids spend using a smartphone, computer or tablet per day, but left it up to the child.

Let us know how you keep track of your children’s online activity, and how much is too much when it comes to how much time our kids spend using technology?

For further information about poll results, and for details about methodology and Omnibus research services, please email omnibus.us@yougov.com.

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Image: Getty