From chalkboards to keyboards, from naps to apps, from teeter-totters to tweets, America's kids may be missing out on their youth according to a new Trend Micro study.
The Trend Micro eParenting Report, which was conducted among 1,000 parents across the country with at least one child under the age of 15, examined how technology is redefining rules for parenting. The survey found that 76 percent of parents blame the Internet for making their children grow up too fast. One rationale is that 55 percent of parents believe it's impossible to keep kids from seeing inappropriate material on the Internet.
"This may be the most difficult time in the history of parenting," said Natalie Severino, director, consumer marketing at Trend Micro. "On one hand you have technological wonders that allow your kids to open their minds and imagination and on the same playground you have new levels of danger. This is why we're dedicated in bringing the best protection and education to parents so their families can have all the benefits without all the fear."
The eParenting Report also finds that parents are agreeing to give their children access to technology sooner. Some 62 percent believe it's appropriate for a child to own a computer at 13 years of age or younger – the sweet spot being 11-12 years old (17 percent of the 62 percent). Not surprising, that one-third of the respondents said that their children ages 13-14 are more or much more tech-savvy than their parental guardians.
Cyberbullying is the New Sex Talk with Kids
Having a cyberbullying conversation may be more difficult to have with their children than discussing the birds and bees. The majority of parents (55 percent) said they have not discussed cyberbullying with their kids, either because they're waiting to do it in the future (39 percent); they just don't think it's a relevant issue (13 percent) or because they don't understand the technology (3 percent).
"For our family, we didn't talk about cyberbullying until it was too late," said Stephanie Wagner, AndTwinsMakes5 blogger and Digital Joneses family member. "I didn't know how to start the conversation and I wasn't fully aware of some of the technology kids are using today. I've already learned a lot from the first six months of the Digital Joneses campaign that I've been able to apply with my own family and hopefully my readers have been able to benefit from it, too."
Keeping a Close Watch
Parents may be embracing technology and encouraging their children to take advantage of social networking sites, but they're still keeping a close eye on them.