New Kaiser Study Shows Parents Monitor Media but are Still Concerned with Inappropriate Content

Parents have mixed feelings about media’s role in their kids’ lives and their own ability as parents to manage the media

Common Sense Media
Tuesday, June 19, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – A new survey released by the Kaiser Family Foundation on Tuesday suggests that parents have mixed feelings about both the media's role in their kids' lives and their own ability as parents to manage that media.

In the national survey of 1,008 parents with children between 2 and 17, 65 percent of respondents said that they are able to closely monitor their children's media use. But just as many said that they are very concerned that children in America are exposed to too much inappropriate media content.

"The results of this study suggest that parents are taking to heart the importance of being involved in their kids' media lives," said Common Sense Media CEO Susan Sachs. "That said, parents are still clearly concerned about the amount of sex and violence kids see in the media."

According to the survey results, three out of four parents (74 percent) reported that inappropriate media content is either "one of their top concerns" or "a big concern" for them as a parent. Moreover, more parents cited TV as their biggest concern when it comes to inappropriate content than any other medium (the Internet, video games, etc.). While more than half of the parents surveyed said that they have used the TV ratings, most parents reported that they don't fully understand what those ratings mean.

"Parents seem to be saying that they aren't comfortable with the amount of inappropriate content that their kids are exposed to, but that they also feel like they're doing a good job monitoring the media in their kids' lives," Sachs said. "The missing piece of this equation might be that parents don't have access to effective tools that will help them find the good stuff for kids and avoid the bad – that's something that we at Common Sense are trying to remedy."