Online browsing behavior served to advertisers is another concern
The internet has been commonplace in households for years, and it might be easy to think that teens have been educated about how to use it wisely. But their parents are still very nervous about ways they might compromise their privacy.
According to September 2012 research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, a majority of parents of teens were “very concerned” about their interactions with strangers online, with only slightly fewer “very concerned” about their reputation management, along with what information was going to advertisers, and the effect online behavior could have on their teens’ future.
This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, with media-friendly horror stories in abundance: the outing of a Reddit moderator by Gawker, and the same property’s naming-and-shaming of teenagers who tweeted racist content about the presidential election. Parents know that HR departments often look at social media profiles when making hiring decisions, and what happens online doesn’t often stay online.
Whether because they are particularly educated about these issues, or because, as middle-class parents they have more time and resources to devote to these matters, higher-income parents were more likely, according to the research, to use parental controls for their teens’ internet usage. White parents were nearly twice as likely as black parents to do this, and younger parents were somewhat more likely than older ones.
Education levels did not have a clear effect on how likely parents were to use controls; those with only a high school diploma had a similar rate of usage of parental controls as those who had graduated from college. But those with only some college were several percentage points more likely to use controls.
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Check out today’s other articles, “Trends for 2013: Commerce Loses Its Linearity” and “Online Content Exploration Varies by Demographic.”