Parents’ concern grows over teens’ privacy online

Hank Silverberg,

WASHINGTON – The emails exchanged in the Gen. Petraeus scandal draw attention to the importance of taking precautions when posting online.

A new study shows parents are worried about the kind of contact their kids have online and what it could mean to their future on everything from college admission to job searches.

A new Pew Internet And American Life Project study indicates 72 percent of the parents of teens are concerned about how their children interact online with people they don’t know.

In the same survey, 69 percent of parents say they worry that what their teens post on sites like Facebook might affect future jobs or college admittance.

Taking their future into account, 59 percent of the parents polled say they’ve talked their children about something they have posted online.

But it’s not all out in the open. The research shows parents will also spy. As many as 42 percent say they will do Internet searches for their kids names. And half reported they use parental controls where they are available.

The study warns however, that parents themselves also need to be careful. The survey found 66 percent of parents of teenagers now use social networking sites. That figure has risen from 58 percent in 2011.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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