12/13/04 Contact: Jim Seroka, 334/844-4781 (jseroka@auburn.edu)
David M. Granger, 334/844-9999 (grangdm@auburn.edu)

INTERNET DANGEROUS FOR KIDS SAYS SURVEY OF ALABAMA PARENTS

AUBURN -- Four out of five Alabama parents are very concerned about the dangers the Internet poses to children and say they want more quality time with their kids.

These are among the findings of the fall Ask Alabama public opinion survey, conducted by the Center for Governmental Services at Auburn University. Ask Alabama releases monthly results of polls on topics of interest to Alabamians.

According to Ask Alabama’s October telephone survey of Alabama parents, more than 80 percent say they fear the Internet exposes their children to sexual predators, pornography, violent content, and, to a lesser extent, unscrupulous merchandisers.

“It is interesting to find that parents are almost as concerned about their children being targeted by Internet merchandisers as they are about these other dangers,” notes Ask Alabama pollster Robin Salter. “It indicates parents feel threatened by anything, overt or not, which preys on children.”

However, most parents trust their Internet provider to protect children. One out of four parents (23 percent) strongly agree that their Internet provider does enough to protect their children from potential dangers, while 39 percent somewhat agree.

Eighty-two percent of parents also believe more quality time with their children may be the answer. Most parents favored quality time activities including church-sponsored family events, movies, dinner or sporting events.

“Most parents want more time to spend with their children. Parents want to do things that are active, such as getting out of the house, socializing with others, or even doing chores,” noted Salter.

Other findings of the Ask Alabama poll on Children, the Internet, and Family Time include:

* Nearly sixty percent (59%) also expressed concern about their children accessing Internet gambling sites.

* Two out of three parents agreed that, if they had more time to spend with their children, they would not use this time watching television together.

Complete results of the Ask Alabama poll on Children, the Internet, and Family Time can be found at www.askalabama.org. The poll has a sample size of 341 parents (228 with Internet access) and an estimated margin of error of +/- 5% for parent sample (+/- 7% for parents with Internet). Ask Alabama telephone surveys on issues of interest to Alabamians are conducted quarterly.

###

dec04:AU-askala7