Parents wary, but few limit kids' internet use

Though the vast majority of Canadian parents are worried about just how much personal information their children share online, not many are trying to curb it, a new survey suggests.

Fewer than 30% use content-control software, poll suggests

Though the vast majority of Canadian parents are worried about just how much personal information their children share online, not many are trying to curb it, a new survey suggests.

An Internet poll conducted by Ipsos Reid finds that 85 per cent of parents of seven- to 17-year-olds worry their kids "overshare" personal information online, opening the door to potential abuse by online predators. This concern even trumps kids' online exposure to violence and pornography, the poll indicates.

Fewer than 30 per cent of respondents, however, say they've installed parental control features on the computers their children use. As well, 17 per cent of kids aged seven to 15 have a computer in their room, rather than a common area where parents can keep a closer eye on their online activities. And 62 per cent of parents admit their children have unsupervised access to the computer.

Contact with strangers tops list

Other chief concerns voiced by parents include unwanted contact by online strangers and having their kids access inappropriate online content (84 per cent). Only 23 per cent of parents surveyed say they've personally met and know the contacts their children chat and communicate with online.

Interestingly, the safety of the computer itself ranked highly. Eight-two per cent of respondents say they're concerned about computer viruses or malware infections, and 67 per cent say they're worried about aggressive commercialism.

On that front, parents are taking action, with 93 per cent reporting they have anti-virus software installed on their computer.

The Ipsos Reid poll was conducted online with 1,043 parents of seven- to 17-year-olds between April 2010 and April 27, 2010. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.03 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.