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Social media: Parents unconcerned by Facebook, Twitter

A new survey says 83 percent of parents believe social media benefits kids more than it harms them.

Facebook and other social media weren't a concern for 83 percent of parents surveyed, who said they thought the benefits of social media outweighed the risks involved for children.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press/AP

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Parents, it turns out, rarely see Facebook as a danger zone.

A whopping 83 percent of parents think the benefits of their children’s social media use outweigh or at least balance any perceived risks.

In a national survey released Thursday by Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, almost three-fourths of parents said social media prepare children for success in a digital society and encourage curiosity and collaboration.

The results surprised researchers at Children’s Mercy given that parents also said they are concerned about child molesters, sexting and cyber bullying.

More than half of the 728 parents surveyed thought social media made their children more open-minded.

Barely two in five parents worried their children’s online activity could breed social isolation and behavioral problems. Roughly the same number was concerned that children’s virtual lives could get in the way of their real-life social skills and friendships.

The expert’s take?

Social media exposure has many benefits, said Children’s Mercy child psychologist Ed Christophersen, but giving children unlimited and unsupervised access is asking for trouble.

“Most of us did some things as adolescents that we don’t want on the front page of The Kansas City Star,” he said. “And yet we kind of assume blindly that our kids won’t.”

Police agree.

“You have a right to demand the password for your children,” Overland Park, Kan., Police spokesman Gary Mason said. “They’re your kids and you should be actively looking at what they put on the Internet.”


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