For the last five years the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital has conducted a national poll asking adults to name their top health concerns for children in their communities.
Each year they ask adults what they consider “big problems.” When asked about Internet safety concerns, here ‘s what they’ve said over the past five years:
As you can see, Internet safety as a “big” concern peaked in 2009, but has since then been declining.
On one hand, we might think this is a good thing. Perhaps increased efforts to educate parents about Internet safety dangers are paying off. Perhaps kids are wising up about Internet dangers. Perhaps the digital divide between parents and children is starting to close.
But the research also shows more work is needed to educate parents and protect children, especially in Hispanic communities. The percentage drop labeling Internet safety a “big problem” is more visible among Whites than any other group. In 2009, 30% of Whites said Internet safety was a concern. But in 2010 and this year, only 21% said so. In contrast, African Americans and Hispanics have consistently rated Internet safety a big concern over the past three years. For instance, this year and last year Hispanics said Internet safety was a big problem 11-12% more than the national average.