According to a new report on kids' media intake, fewer parents are worried about exposure to violent or sexual content:
Sixty-five percent of parents say they "closely" monitor their children's media use, while just 18% say they "should do more." This may help to explain why since 1998 the proportion of parents who say they are "very" concerned that their own children are exposed to inappropriate content – while still high – has dropped, from 67% to 51% for sexual content, from 62% to 46% for violence, and from 59% to 41% for adult language.
Parents are particularly confident in monitoring their children's online activities. Nearly three out of four parents (73%) say they know "a lot" about what their kids are doing online (among all parents with children 9 or older who use the Internet at home).
But hey, a little censorship never hurts:
Two-thirds (65%) of parents say they are "very" concerned that children in this country are exposed to too much inappropriate content in the media and a similar proportion (66%) favor government regulations to limit TV content during early evening hours.
In April, Kerry Howley noted that a number parents seem to think censorship is necessary to protect other people's kids:
It's not that parents don't think media violence is benign in the abstract; when polled, they tend to express concern about its effects. It just doesn't seem to be their kids at issue. A similar dynamic seems to be at work in video game purchases. According to a recent Federal Trade Commission report (pdf), 90 percent of parents are aware of the game ratings system, and two thirds of parents always or usually agree with its determinations. Yet 40 percent of parents who know system report that they let their kids play games deemed Mature; nearly a quarter of kids named an M-rated game as a favorite.