A new survey from the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, The National Poll on Children’s Health, has found that US parents rate Internet Safety as being a more serious health threat to children than school violence, sexually transmitted diseases, abuse and neglect.
Yes, the Internet.
No, I’m not kidding.
The survey found that Internet safety is a relatively new health concern amongst parents. Women were more likely to rate it as a big problem; 32% of women report Internet safety as a big problem compared with only 21% of men. Internet safety had no differences in proportion of concern by education status, income level or marital status.
You may well ask what this has to do with Web 2.0. The report notes: “state and federal legislators appear to have responded to public concerns about Internet safety for children, considering new legislation and issuing consumer alerts“.
The ongoing campaign to whip up hysteria around the risks for children in social networking by some segments of the media is clearly working.
If the obvious hysteria demonstrated in this survey, and indeed over the last 18 months through countless hours of negative press surrounding MySpace and many other social networking destinations translates to the ballot box, big Government is ready and waiting to impose a raft of legislative rules and regulations on a future generation of Silicon Valley social networking start ups. Rules and regulations that will have a cost in terms of compliance and implementation, taking money away from R&D and making the pursuit of success by any affected start up that little bit harder.