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SocialShield study

Most parents don’t monitor their children’s social network activity, according to new studies from comScore and NDP.

According to the studies, about 69 percent of parents with children ages 10 to 17 are concerned with several different dangers associated with social network use. Some of those concerns include: contact from strangers, publicly displaying geo-location data, defamatory public messages and cyberbullying.

Yet, only 32 percent of those parents actually monitor their child’s social networking activities every day, while another 28 percent admitted they only occasionally, rarely or never monitor activity.

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SocialShield, which will formally release the studies later today, provides an online monitoring service dedicated to helping parents keep their children safe on Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and other social networks.

“I don’t think most parents realize the difference between a social internet and the regular internet,” said SocialShield CEO George Garrick. “Facebook alone is dominating the way teens access the internet. They don’t use email, use of third-party client instant messaging applications is way down. Most parents don’t always know how to monitor this new activity (on Facebook).”

The studies were commissioned, Garrick said, because there isn’t a lot of data about the subject of parental monitoring of social networks. Due to the vast changes every major social network goes through, practices that were used for monitoring just two years ago could be insufficient or completely irrelevant by today’s standards.

Garrick said most parents believe adding their child as a friend on social networks like Facebook is a sufficient solution for monitoring their activity for harmful behavior. But since the average teenager has over 200 friends, such a task is nearly impossible.

Others take a far more relaxed approach. According to the studies, 62 percent of parents feel that occasionally looking over their child’s shoulder while on a computer in an open, family room is enough to monitor that child’s social media activity effectively. However, a large 71 percent admitted that their child also accesses the same social networks from other locations and on other devices.

Other findings from the studies include:

  • 50% of parents admitted that “properly monitoring would take a lot of time and I’m sure there are things I’m not seeing.”
  • 63% of parents say they frequently review who their child is adding as a friend on social networks to make sure it is only people who the child knows in real life.
  • 54% of parents say they monitor their child’s social networking account by logging into the child’s account on occasion.
  • Only 5% say they currently use a monitoring application that alerts them if there is something they should be aware of.

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