AOL Canada Inc.

AOL Canada Inc.

May 17, 2005 07:00 ET

The Computer is Turned On: Do You Know Where Your Children Are?

Contrary to advice of Internet safety advocates, AOL Canada-commissioned study indicates 45 per cent of parents would still place a computer in the privacy of their child's bedroom Attention: Assignment Editor, Education Editor, Lifestyle Editor, Photo Editor, Tech/Telecomm Editor TORONTO, ON --(CCNMatthews - May 17, 2005) - According to a recent study, 45 per cent of Canadian parents who intend to purchase a computer for use by their children would place it in their child's bedroom or playroom. However, Internet safety advocates such as Cybertip.ca and AOL Canada strongly advise parents to keep computers used by children in the household out of their bedrooms and, instead, in a high-traffic area such as the living room. Only nine per cent of Canadian respondents opted for the living room as a choice location for their children's computers.

The study was conducted by Maritz Research and commissioned by AOL Canada in conjunction with AOL Canada's Online Safety Week (www.aol.ca/onlinesafetyweek), a nationwide initiative that aims to help teachers and parents better understand how children are using the Internet; how kids can better leverage the Web as a source of education and entertainment; and how they can help keep children safe from predators, cyber-bullies and other online menaces.

Although many Canadian parents recognize the educational and entertainment value of the Internet, nearly 30 per cent of parents surveyed said they didn't intend to allow their children to go online at home.

"Cutting children off from the Internet is not the answer. Not only is it unrealistic, since computers with Web access are increasingly ubiquitous, but it robs them of educational resources, as well as the ability to learn the suitable way to behave on the Internet," observed Karen Robbins, AOL Canada's Online Safety Expert and 'Net Mom.' "Instead, providing children with critical 'cyber coping' skills will help create educated and Web-responsible adults."

AOL recommends parents build an Internet relationship with their children from a young age to ensure they learn the fundamentals of appropriate online behaviour. Parents should set ground rules, time limits and encourage an open conversation with their children.

While parental involvement is essential, AOL Canada's KOL™ (Kids Online, which is bundled with AOL® 9.0) addresses many of the concerns of unprotected Internet access. Built and tested by kids, young Internet users can enjoy educational content and games, while parents can find peace of mind in AOL's industry-leading Parental Controls, which ensure no access to adult content. According to the Maritz study, 75 per cent of respondents felt parental controls were essential in ensuring children's online safety, while 68 per cent of parents said a customized "kids only" environment was also necessary.

AOL's Parental Controls include an AOL Online Timer and AOL Guardian, which generates a report for parents outlining their children's online activities.

Additional Study Findings:

• When parents were asked under what circumstances they would feel confident their children were safe online, an overwhelming 81 per cent of Canadians indicated that discussing/educating children themselves was the best way to provide them with peace of mind
• Twenty-nine per cent of parents surveyed said they didn't intend for their children to go online at all
• One hundred per cent of respondents from Atlantic Canada and the Prairies (Manitoba and Saskatchewan) listed educating their children as a priority in online safety; however, only 66 per cent of Quebec respondents indicated that discussions/education were an essential circumstance to feeling their children were safe online
• Quebec respondents did, however, emerge as the largest regional average that wouldn't allow their children online at all, at 46 per cent. This is compared with 29 per cent of Ontario parents; 20 per cent in Atlantic Canada; 19 per cent in Alberta; 16 per cent in Manitoba/Saskatchewan; and just 13 per cent in British Columbia
• One hundred per cent of Atlantic Canada parents and 72 per cent of Quebecers chose supervised surfing as a vital practice in ensuring their children's online safety. This is compared to 64 per cent in Ontario; and 62 per cent for Manitoba/Saskatchewan and British Columbia
• Alberta parents demonstrated a varying opinion with just 57 per cent of respondents choosing supervised surfing as a necessary practice for children's online safety

Methodology
This study was commissioned by AOL Canada Inc. and conducted by Maritz Research, the national Canadian Omnibus of Maritz Research. In total 1,000 Canadians were contacted between December 9th and December 14th, 2004. All interviews were conducted among a random representative sample of Canadians. More specifically, the research focused on those who have at least one computer at home. Due to the highly specific audience the actual number of respondents that qualified for this wave of the AOL Canada Parent Safety Survey was 768. With a sample of this size, results can be considered accurate to within +/- 3.54%, 19 times out of 20.

About KOL™
KOL was designed to address parents' concerns, without diluting their kids' enjoyment of the Internet. Included within the latest version of the AOL service, KOL gives kids access to exclusive content from their favourite, industry-leading brands, including: Looney Tunes, Kids WB, DC Comics, Mary-Kate and Ashley, TIME For Kids and Sports Illustrated For Kids. KOL is available now to AOL Members over both high-speed and dial-up connections.

About AOL Canada Inc.
AOL Canada is a wholly owned subsidiary of America Online, Inc., which is the world's leading interactive services company with more than 28 million members worldwide. AOL Canada provides enhanced Internet experiences to Canadians. Representing a portfolio of pioneering Internet brands including AOL, Netscape and CompuServe, AOL Canada Inc. continues to change and enhance the scope of what people can do online. AOL Canada is dedicated to helping people get more out of their Internet with new Internet innovations that offer more control, better security, more versatility and a more enjoyable experience.

AOL Canada Inc. is a supporter of Child Find Manitoba's Cybertip.ca, Canada's Internet child exploitation tipline.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Becky Bolt
AOL Canada Inc.
(416) 960-6605
beckyboltca@aol.com

Alana Coleman
Senior PR Consultant
Mansfield Communications Inc.
(416) 599-0024
alana@mcipr.com

IN: EDUCATION, TECHNOLOGY

Contact Information

  • Alana Coleman, Senior Consultant, Mansfield Communications Inc.
    Primary Phone: 416-599-0024
    Secondary Phone: 416-520-2794
    E-mail: alana@mcipr.com