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Most parents think Facebook and social media has a negative influence on their kids

A new piece of research has emerged showing how parents feel about the potential positives and negatives of their offspring’s use of technology – and social networks didn’t come off well.

The Parenting in the Digital Age report was carried out by Hart Research Associates for the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), and found that on an overall level slightly more parents (53 per cent) felt that the benefits of tech outweigh any drawbacks. The boon foremost in parents’ minds was the potential for education and learning online and with technological devices.

Very few felt the opposite way, just 5 per cent, while the remaining 42 per cent were undecided as to whether technology was a good or bad influence on their child’s life.

There were areas where parents were concerned, and predictably one of those was online gaming, which only 44 per cent of those surveyed felt the benefits were stronger than any potential harm, and 38 per cent in the case of the child owning a smartphone.

The biggest black mark, however, was put against social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, where only 26 per cent said the benefits trumped the harms, 31 per cent felt they were equal, but the majority of 43 per cent believed the harm outweighed any possible boons.

The vast majority of the parents surveyed (95 per cent) said they monitored their child’s use of technology at least “somewhat closely”, and 55 per cent said they watched their kids “very closely”. The younger the child, the more monitoring was done (unsurprisingly).

FOSI noted: “It is clear that parents recognise both benefits and harms of technology, and parenting in the digital age involves careful navigation of these elements.”