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Your kids online: What worries parents most?

What are parents most worried about when it comes to their kids going online? According to a poll from, the range of fears were less internet-specific, and more closely aligned with every parent’s number one real-world concern: Safety.

Girl on the internet - online safety

In May 2010, asked more than a thousand readers: “

What worries you most about your child’s computer use?

By a wide margin, the top two issues moms and dads have with a child’s web use are related to strangers approaching their children, and their kids being exposed to inappropriate content.

Receiving 33 and 32 percent of the votes, respectively, these concerns demonstrate that whether online or off, parents are most worried about the influence of strangers as well as their childrens’ peers showing poor judgement.

“For all that this is the first generation of children to grow up having always known the web, the issues that strike fear in the heart of parents aren’t really that different to their real-life counterparts,” says SheKnows co-founder and Executive Editor Betsy Bailey. “Our priority is, first and foremost, protecting our kids from negative external influences as much as possible.”

Read more: Kids privacy online: What’s appropriate?

More typical practical concerns took third and fourth place in the survey: kids not getting enough physical activity due to being on the computer (13 percent) and decreased face-to-face interaction with “real” friends versus online friends (11 percent).

The remaining 11 percent of parents polled expressed frustration about one truly modern dilemma: Sharing too much personal information on social networking sites. “Even if the problem of oversharing seems like a new issue parents face, it also has a time-tested solution: monitoring your kids,” says Bailey. “It’s an approach that is appropriate no matter where your child is or what he is doing. There’s simply no substitute for staying vigilant and involved in your kids’ lives.”


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