Two-thirds of US adults feel kids should turn 13 before using Internet alone
The Internet is full of information, but also full of real risks for children, like online predators or the pitfalls of losing privacy when kids share too much information.
In a new University of Michigan poll, the majority of the public supports updating federal laws that require Internet safety standards to protect kids.
The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health recently asked adults nationwide about Internet use and proposed changes to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, known as COPPA.
COPPA was enacted to protect young children from some of these Internet dangers by prohibiting collection of personal information through websites if the user is under age 13.
The poll found that two-thirds of adults think children should be at least 13 years old to use the Internet on their own.
But 29 percent of the parents with children aged between 9 and 12 said that their children have their own handheld Wi-Fi enabled devices, which may mean children are online and unsupervised.
Although social networking sites like Facebook restrict access to users under age 13, 18 percent of parents polled said their children age 9-12 have their own social networking profile.
"For parents, COPPA may be the most important piece of federal legislation you've never heard of," Davis, who is also associate professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at the U-M Medical School and associate professor of public policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, said.
"So much has changed in the 14 years since COPPA was enacted: Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, along with applications. This report underscores the concerns among the general public to make sure proper safeguards are enacted to protect kids," Davis added.
In the poll, most adults expressed strong support for the proposed updates.
The poll found that 60 percent of adults expressed strong support for prohibiting websites and applications designed for kids from collecting personal information of children under age 13.