Knowing how to use the Internet is an increasingly important skill for today’s children. Many parents do not know, however, that many of the sites that kids visit require kids to enter personal information in order to gain access. Kids’ are frequently asked to enter their name, age, other other personally identifiable information. While some sites for adults require age verification or a credit card to enter, many kids either know how to circumvent those safeguards or simply lie in order to gain access. A 2008 study, however, revealed that the simple act of a parent talking to their child about not supplying personal information online greatly reduces the likelihood that kids will disclose personal information. In addition, setting rules about Internet use (how much time kids use the Internet, which sites they can and can’t visit) is also effective at reducing how often kids will give out personal information, though setting rules is not as effective as talking to kids about the dangers of giving out such information. So, start talking to your kids about these things!
The full study can be found at: Lwin, M.O., Stanaland, A.J.S., & Miyazaki, A.D., (2008). Protecting children’s privacy online: How parental mediation strategies affect website safeguard effectiveness, Journal of Retailing, 84(2), 205-217.