Changes to Child Online Privacy Protection Act to help parents

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- Starting July1st the government will  make it easier for parents to monitor their child's Internet activity by enacting several new consent methods for parents and increasing protection for minors' private information.

According to a new study from the Digital Future Project, there is a divide among parents on whether to supervise their kid's Internet usage. Seventy percent of parents say they monitor their child's online activity while on Facebook and other social media sites and 46% have password access to their children's account.

However, 30% of parents don't chaperone online interactions because they don't want to show a lack of trust to their kids.  On Monday, the government will update the Child Online Privacy Protection Act that will include several new consent methods for parents and increased protection for minors.

"There areso many pedophiles out there, kids get on chat rooms, they don’t know whom theyare talking to and it’s just so dangerous," said Jonesboro parent, Marilyn Callaghan.   
"I amfriends with all my kids on Facebook and I do monitor everything that theypost," said Nicole Woods, a mother of four.

Local parents said it's better to act first and apologize later when it comes to keeping their kids safe.

“I wouldwant to know who she is talking to and what’s going on in her life becausehonestly, there are a lot of creeps out there and I want to do my best toprotect her," said Cassi Painter, who has a newborn daughter.

Ernest Wardwith Jonesboro Police Department said parent should keep the computer in acommon area and be mindful of what their kids are doing. 

"Dependingupon the age of your child, to not allow them to have unbridled, unrestrictedaccess to the Internet," Ward said.

According tothe study 30% of parents don’t chaperone their kids online activity becausethey say they trust their kids.  Incontrast, 46% say they have password access to their child’s account.

"Most of thetime it’s not your child you don’t trust it’s the person who is in contact withthem," Ward said.

Ward saysthere is software available to keep kids off sites that deal with drugs, firearms and sex. Callaghan said monitoring Internet activity could help keep more kids safe.

"If parentswould do their job I think we could cut down on a lot of the crime and a lot ofthe pedophiles and people they shouldn’t be talking to," she said.

Ward saysthere has definitely been an increase in cyber crimes involving minors. He saysparents should not give devices to their kids that they can’t operate themselves.

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