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Parents fret but don’t always protect their pre-teen’s privacy online

Ask parents if they worry about their children’s online privacy and the overwhelming answer is “Yes!” Fully eight out of ten (82%) parents of pre-teens (children age 0-13) believe that protecting their children’s personal information on the Internet is their primary responsibility.

At the same time, one in five (19%) have admitted to helping their child evade the under-13 age restrictions put on user accounts by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (Coppa), and followed by YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and other sites.

The findings released Wednesday are from an online survey commissioned by TRUSTe, a data privacy management company, and conducted by Ipsos among 1,000 U.S. adults between November 28 and December 5, 2014.

When asked about the parental consent requirements put on websites by COPPA, only one in two (46%) say that parental controls are effective at protecting children under the age of 13 online.  Only 44% of parents with pre-teens have been asked by their children to give consent for an online account created by the child.

Providing an email address was the most preferred way (46%) for adults to confirm their status as the parent or guardian.

Policy particulars aside, most parents worry what their children might see or do online.

  • Six out of ten (57%) worry that their pre-teens would be exposed to content online which is not appropriate
  • Four in ten (43%) worry that children would share personal information they would later regret
  • Four in ten (42%) worry that children might connect with strangers while online
  • Just under half (47%) said their child knew nothing about the issues surrounding privacy online.

These could be the reasons that one quarter of parents (24%) do not allow their children to use the internet at all.