Parents see media, not sex, as top worry: study

NEW YORK Mon Feb 5, 2007 3:22pm EST

Youths are seen using computers in San Francisco in this October 9, 2004 file photo. U.S. parents are more worried about the amount of time their kids spend watching television or meeting friends on Internet social networks than about sex or alcohol abuse, according to a new study. REUTERS/Kimberly White

Youths are seen using computers in San Francisco in this October 9, 2004 file photo. U.S. parents are more worried about the amount of time their kids spend watching television or meeting friends on Internet social networks than about sex or alcohol abuse, according to a new study.

Credit: Reuters/Kimberly White

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. parents are more worried about the amount of time their kids spend watching television or meeting friends on Internet social networks than about sex or alcohol abuse, according to a new study.

The study was released on Monday by Insight Research Group and commissioned by Common Sense Media, a San Francisco-based group that studies the impact of media on kids.

Some 57 percent of 1,138 U.S. parents surveyed were either very concerned or strongly concerned about children spending too much of their time with different media outlets. By comparison, about 45 percent of parents said they were as concerned about their kids engaging in sex or using alcohol.

"Intuitively, parents have a sense that too much media isn't a good thing, but they can't quite put their finger on why," James Steyer, founder and chief executive of Common Sense Media, said in a statement.

Parents also saw themselves as bearing the biggest responsibility for the way media affects their kids, well ahead of the companies that create TV shows or Internet content, who ranked third on the list.

Common Sense Media and the Aspen Institute are hosting a conference in New York this week where chief executives from some of the largest media companies -- Time Warner Inc. CBS Corp. Warner Music Group Corp. and Comcast Corp. -- will discuss the media's influence on kids.

TV viewing topped the list of media categories that worried parents, following by Internet use and playing video games. Listening to the radio and reading magazines were deemed as the safest types of media, according to the poll.

Concerns over their children struggling in school or developing a weight problem also ranked higher, at 55 percent and 46 percent of respondents, than sexual activity or alcohol use.

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