I’m not one of those parents who is totally panicked by the idea of all the kinds of scary things that are made available by new tech like cell phones, social media, and the like. Yes, there are a lot of scary things kids can access or be sucked into via new technology. But as a guy who spent his childhood in the late 60s and 70s, it’s not like it was a non-stop, safe party for us, either. Yup, you can get talked into stuff by strangers over your cell phone, or via Facebook, or Yahoo IM, or some such; no question. In my day, it was “talking to strangers” and whack jobs prowling the places where kids walked home from school, trying to talk them into “taking rides” with them.
But, just because I’m a lot more sanguine about the dangers than most parents–my playground equipment was made of iron and wood set into concrete, for crying out loud; today’s kids wear helmets and pads to go skateboarding–that doesn’t mean I take them lightly. I just don’t panic and freak like a lot. And being a nerd, I use tech to fight evil tech, ‘cuz that’s what us nerds tend to do.
I am also not one of those parents who think television and other media should be watered down so that it won’t “shock the children.” I don’t want to shock my children either. You know how I do it? I don’t let them watch shows, get music, buy or play games, or go to web sites that I find objectionable. I figure that’s part of my job as a parent, to monitor what my kids are doing closely enough so that I don’t need to force government to censor things. But then, as my wife Sami often points out, I’m weird.
So I was interested to receive an email from Retrevo, discussing a new report out about parents and social media. A highlight of the report:
Study Highlights:– 18% of parents say they feel like they couldn’t stop using Facebook/Twitter even if they wanted to.– 47% of parents of kids under 19 say they’ve used Facebook to learn more about their kid’s friends.– iPhone owning parents (iParents) are twice as likely (28%) to get anxious when they don’t check Facebook/Twitter as most parents (14%).– Dads are more likely (13%) to use Facebook to learn about their kid’s dates than moms (10%).– iParents are twice as likely to use Facebook to learn about their kid’s dates than Droid owning parents.– iPhone owning parents are four times LESS likely to have under 50 Facebook friends.– 32% of iParents have over 250 friends (compared with 23% of other parents).