Half of parents log on to networking websites to spy on their children
UK Daily Mail | May 21, 2007
More and more parents are logging on to social networking websites such as Facebook to spy on their children, it was revealed today.
The new generation of technology has moved parents on from reading their kids' diaries to viewing their online profiles to find out what they are up to.
The runaway popularity of My-Space, Facebook and MSN messaging not only gives parents cause to worry about how much time their child is spending online, but also greater concerns about about internet stalkers and paedophiles.
Now almost half of parents snoop around the sites their children visit, according to helpline Parentline Plus. Spokesman Jan Fry said: "In many ways it is a general anxiety about children pulling away from the family, and a fear the computer is beginning to rule their lives, although with others it is concern about whether their children are too young to be going online," she said.
But Ms Fry did recommend snoopingif the parents were truly worried. "If it looks like it is becoming obsessive, if your child is upset when they come off the internet, or if it looks like it is becoming a substitute for friendship, I would recommend taking action," she said.
A study by Sonia Livingstone, professor-of social psychology at the London School of Economics found 41 per cent of parents with children aged between nine and 17 were checking the computer to see which sites had been visited.
A quarter checked their children's email.
The rise and rise of Facebook
The social networking site Facebook was originally developed for university students, but now has more then 25 million members worldwide. You can create your own profile, containing personal information and photographs, and invite friends to join it. Every profile on the site is private until the creator allows friends to join it.
The creator of a profile can also set up an advanced privacy setting which restricts the people who can see their photo albums. When friends are given access to the site, they can share photographs and add different pictures to each other's profiles. The site's name refers to the paper facebooks that colleges and preparatory schools in the United States give to new students depicting members of the campus community.
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