Kaiser Study On Parental Computer Monitoring Shows Little

A new survey of over 1,000 parents by the Kaiser Family Foundation seems, on its surface, to indicate that parents are gaining more control over what their kids see in the media, including the Internet.

Pardon me, while I yawn. I have seen these sorts of surveys before. They aren’t very useful. As a parent, I can only imagine how I might fill out one of those surveys and how well my answers might reflect reality.

Parents, of course, want to feel like they are in charge and in control even if they aren’t. What better way to rationalize the idea that you are doing a great job of monitoring your kids’ Net surfing than to fill out a survey by a highfalutin outfit like the Kaiser Foundation.

The report, “Parents, Children & Media: A Kaiser Family Foundation Survey,” comes as Congress is preparing to take up the issue of violence in the media again. A hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee is scheduled for June 26. Two-thirds of the survey’s respondents say they are “very” concerned that children in this country are exposed to too much inappropriate content in the media and a similar number favor government regulations to limit TV content during early evening hours.

Most parents, the report said, seem pretty satisfied with the oversight they’re able to offer. Two-thirds (65%) say they “closely” monitor their children’s media use, and only 18% say they feel they should monitor more closely than they do now.

Okay. But all this survey shows is what parents think and feel, not the reality of whether their kids are really surfing more porn and the like. The only way to do that would be a very expensive passive metering/tracking of those households and verifying the number that had blocking software installed.