On September 14, 2011, the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) launched the results of “Who Needs Parental Controls?” a survey indicating that the majority of parents use tools and rules to control their kids’ online usage. Following a presentation of the newfound data by Hart Research associate Abigail Davenport, a panel composed of representatives from sponsor companies AT&T, Google, Microsoft and Verizon, and moderated by Adam Thierer, discussed the possible implications of the results.
According to the research, virtually all parents have spoken to their children about online safety and established household rules. The panelists discussed the way adults are using available parental controls and taking steps to embrace the inevitable exposure to technology and media in their kids’ lives. Establishing these monitoring tools on the wide range of different technological devices available helps parents continue to “look over the shoulder” of their child even when it comes to mobile devices. The discussion emphasized that in order to encourage parents to use parental controls, the first step is to educate them in new technology, and make sure they understand the importance of promoting the ethics necessary for their child to become a well-rounded digital citizen.