It’s an interesting juxtoposition, Time magazine’s article about a helicopter-parenting backlash and a study showing that nearly two-thirds of US parents are concerned about online predators (see USNews.com). Which is bigger? I suspect predator fears are a bigger phenomenon, unfortunately – despite research at the Crimes Against Children Research Center “finding no evidence online predators were stalking or abducting victims based on information posted on social networking sites (see USATODAY’s coverage and mine). The Center’s director, Dr. David Finkelhor, also told me in an email around that time that the number of predation incidents was too low to show up in two separate national studies of US youth – “at 1 in 500 or 1 in 1000 or below we can’t estimate” the risk level of predation, he added. Certainly even one case is too many, but concerns need to reflect the facts not the hype and misinformation parents have been subjected to since the advent of online social networking.
But getting back to the study of parents’ concerns and engagement, it was a national survey by the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan, and key findings include: