Kids, Parents Say Other People Share Too Much Information Online, Poll Says

Filed under: News, In The News, Weird But True, Media, Research Reveals: Tweens, Research Reveals: Teens, New In Pop Culture

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Watch how much personal information you're giving away online. Credit: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Before reading the rest of this article, would you mind answering a few simple questions?

What's your home address and telephone number? What's your Social Security number? How old are you? How old are your children? What hours do you generally work? When do you usually go to bed? Do ever keep any of your windows unlocked at night? Where did you hide the brownies?

Stop! Too much information!

You obviously have to be very careful about the information you give out online. Some people, however, wouldn't know "obvious" if it was delivered through the window with a brick.

The International Association of Complete and Utter Rubes is a big club. At least 79 percent of kids think their friends are members.

The poll, conducted by Zogby International for Common Sense Media, finds that the vast majority of kids think their friends share waaaay too much information online. An even bigger percentage of parents don't trust kids. At least 92 percent of the parents surveyed say kids are too willing to give out personal information in exchange for goods and services available via the computer.

Purveyors of just about everything in cyberspace often ask for personal information as a condition for gaining access to their websites, or for buying their wares. Then, before you know it, you have goober calling you every five minutes trying to sell you a home security system.

According to the poll, the majority of parents want Congress to change the law before companies can use personal information for marketing purposes.

At least 70 of parents think schools should educate students about online privacy. However, the Washington Post points out that the poll never asks parents much about their own responsibility in monitoring their kids' online activities.

Common Sense Media is a nonprofit that purports to help families make good decisions about their consumption of media. With the poll results, organization officials have started a campaign to help families protect their kids' personal information from online opportunists.

Among the other poll results:

  • 85 percent of parents say they are more concerned about online privacy than they were five years ago.
  • 69 percent of parents believe online privacy is a shared responsibility of individuals and online companies.
  • 91 percent of parents think search engines and social networking sites should get their permission before sharing a kid's physical location with other companies.
  • 51 percent of parents say they always/sometimes read Terms of Service.
  • 91 percent of parent say they'd take more time to read Terms of Service if they were shorter and more clear.

Common Sense Media suggests parents make sure kids use privacy settings on Facebook and other social networking sites. Organization officials also tell parents and kids to avoid questionnaires, giveaways and contests.

And, whatever you do, don't give companies your address or phone number.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.