Just How Safe is the Internet for Tweens?

Special to HarpBlaster.com News Wire

WASHINGTON, July 22, 2008 — Cox Communications and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) held the third annual Cox Communications National Summit on Internet Safety today in Washington.

Sixteen students from Cox communities nationwide participated in discussions on Internet safety led by children’s advocate John Walsh and Lauren Nelson, Miss America 2007. Key findings from the Cox Tween Internet Safety Survey released today are:

— Ninety percent of tweens report having used the Internet by nine years-old.

— Tweens online presence doubles or even triples between the ages of eight to ten and eleven to twelve.

— Thirty-four percent of eleven and twelve year-olds have a profile on a social networking site. Tweens with social networking profiles post more personal information online.

— More than one in five tweens post information about themselves online, including pictures, the city they live in and how old they are. Twenty-seven percent of tweens ages eleven to twelve admit to posting a fake age online.

— Twenty-eight percent of tweens have been contacted over the Internet by someone they don’t know.

— The percentage of tweens that tell parents “a lot” or “everything” they do online drops rapidly with age. Only sixty-nine percent of eleven to twelve year-olds tell Mom and Dad a lot/everything versus eighty-six percent of eight year-olds to ten year-olds.

— Of tweens who have been contacted online by someone they don’t know (twenty-eight percent), eighteen percent keep the messages to themselves, and eleven percent have chatted with the unknown person.

“Our first line of defense in keeping kids safe is parents and guardians, and most parents seem to be taking this responsibility seriously,” said Walsh, host of “America’s Most Wanted” (FOX). “Seventy-three percent of the tweens who participated in our survey indicated that Mom and Dad had talked to them ‘a lot’ about Internet safety. The remaining twenty-seven percent represents too many kids to leave unprotected when there are people out there who have the compulsion to commit horrible acts. Each child with Internet access must learn as much about safety as possible. The stakes are just too high.”

About the author

Express Telegraph

Express-Telegraph is a news outlet for the 21st century. Based in Metro Atlanta, the outlet focuses on news, politics and sports centered on The Peach State. Get on board the Express.