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Parents Increasingly Rely on Facebook, Text, Emails to Track Children

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June 09, 2011

Parents Increasingly Rely on Facebook, Text, Emails to Track Children

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

My, yet another way this reporter’s behind the times. Maybe his kids, who roll their eyes whenever we refer to an iPod as a “Walkman,” are right after all.

According to industry observer Shane Richmond of Britain’s newspaper The Telegraph, researchers have found that “parents are sending an average of 312 emails and 600 text messages every year to keep track of their children.”

Maybe our kids aren’t really old enough to be too many places yet (that we don’t have to drive them to), or maybe it’s just that we have a good sense of where they are, but we certainly don’t text twice a day to find out where the heck they are.

Twenty per cent of parents said that the best place to find out what their children were doing was on social networks, such as Facebook (News - Alert), according to Richmond’s reporting of the study, and we’ll agree that we have learned a couple, ah, interesting things about our kids’ social activities on Facebook. Someday Facebook is going to come out with a parental block kids can use. That will be a bad day.

Nick Henry, of National Family Week, said “Having to contact your children and immediate family through texts, emails and social networking sites to track them down is just a consequence of modern life.”

Maybe that’s how Henry looks at it, but seeing as how “more than three quarters of those questioned said that technology has had a negative effect on family life, and a third of respondents said they ban mobile phones and other gadgets from the dinner table,” according to Richmond, a practice followed in this reporter’s house, it’s not one whose negative consequences must be endured quietly.

The survey found that a typical family spends fewer than two and a half hours together every week. Again, we’re not sure who they consider the “typical” family, but we’re proud to bring that average up. Granted at least two kids are on technology at the time, but hey, we’re together. And it’s nice.

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David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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