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Ottawa, June 22, 2001 (LSN.ca) – A study based on a survey of nearly 6,000 Canadian students aged nine to 17 shows that a large percentage of children are accessing Internet sites and meeting strangers without parents’ knowledge. The federally funded survey, called Young Canadians in a Wired World, sharply contrasted with a poll on the same subject conducted last year among parents. Both surveys were conducted by the watchdog group Media Awareness Network.

When parents were asked how much they knew about Web sites visited by their children, 71 percent said they knew a lot, or had some idea. When children were asked how much their parents knew about the sites, only 16 percent said their moms or dads knew a great deal. In addition, 38 percent said their parents knew absolutely nothing. Almost 80 percent of parents said they often talk to their children about Internet use but 70 percent of children said the opposite.

In the study almost 80 percent of children surveyed said they have Internet access at home and nearly half surf the Internet for at least an hour each day. Internet surfing is now the third most popular activity among Canadian youngsters, after television and listening to music.

One-third of children regularly erase the history of Web sites they visit, and 50 percent of children said they know more about the Internet than their parents. Most young people surf the Net alone, without supervision, and the majority said their parents never block sites or use filters. About 15 per cent of children said they have met, in person, strangers they have connected with online. When parents were asked the same question, only four percent said their children had met strangers in this way.

“This survey is a wake-up call to parents,” said Anne Taylor, co-director of the Media Awareness Network. “Kids are going online from home in much larger numbers than they are from school or the public library. It’s essential that parents get involved and ensure that their kids understand how to be safe, wise and responsible Internet users.”

For more information see the Ottawa Citizen article at:  https://www.ottawacitizen.com/national/010622/5081853.html

The survey is available at: https://www.media-awareness.ca.

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