The 2013 report, released Thursday, found that thirty percent of parents do not monitor their children’s online activity on social media sites like Facebook. Additionally, the study found vast differences in the online behavior of Millennials and non-Millennials and surveyed participants about internet privacy.
With the recent breaking news about NSA phone tapping, some major outlets focused on the reports’ internet privacy findings while others focused on parental supervision of children’s online activity.
The Associated Press’ Barbara Ortutay referenced the study in an article about government surveillance and ‘Big Brother’ in America. The article, Survey: Many Americans say ‘Big Brother’ is here, notes that the CDF study was conducted last year, well before the recent revelations in government surveillance. Ortutay pulled telling pieces from the report that show Americans were concerned with privacy well before the NSA phone tapping scandal.
“More than half of Americans polled in a survey released Thursday said they agreed with the statement ‘We are really in the era of Big Brother’, “ Ortutay wrote.
In addition to privacy findings, Ortutay listed six other key findings from the study including that people now spend an average of 20.4 hours online per week.
The Los Angeles Times ran a story by Jessica Guynn that focused on the study’s key findings concerning parent supervision of children on social media sites. She highlighted that most parents surveyed who do not monitor their children’s online activity cited trust as a major reason.
“Either parents said they trusted their kids or they didn’t want their kids to think they didn’t trust them,” Guynn wrote.
“It’s every parent’s dilemma to know when to trust their children,” Director of the Center for the Digital Future Jeffrey Cole said in the initial press release. “In the last five years, we have seen many new issues about parenting and technology evolve that previous generations never encountered.”
Lindsey Friedman from USA Today expanded on the study's findings by interviewing CEO of PediatricsNow.com Gwenn Schurgin O'Keeffe about the "divide in parental approaches to internet supervision."
"The reason we are seeing such a profound struggle is because parents fall in multiple generations," O'Keeffe told Friedman. "You're dealing with so many different types of people and parenting styles."
Friedman additionally included information about American as well as European online privacy laws put in effect by government officials for the safety of children and adults. She cited America's soon to be updated COPPA (the Child Online Privacy Protection Act) and spoke with Cole about European laws the United States has yet to adopt.
"In comparison with the European Union, the United States is a bit behind the learning curve," Cole said. "Europe has not only given people "the right to be forgotten" on social media sites, but has also limited corporate access to personal information and proposed a collaboration with websites and government officials to ensure internet safety and quality for youngsters."