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Internet Conversations Lacking Between Parents and Teens According to New Comcast Online Safety and Security Survey

Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), announced today the findings of its Internet safety and security survey to assess the general knowledge, attitudes and behaviors among U.S. adults and teens.

One of the highlights in the independent nationwide survey revealed that although 95 percent of parents believe it is just as important to talk about online safety issues with their children as it is to talk about sex education and the risks associated with drugs and alcohol, only 65 percent have actually had that discussion. 

To help parents initiate these conversations with their children as they progress through different developmental stages - teens, tweens, school-age children and preschoolers, Comcast is raising awareness about new discussion guides created by Dr. Michael Rich, Director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Children's Hospital Boston. The results of the survey and the new guides come as the nation recognizes National Cyber Security Awareness month in October. 

"As the nation's largest residential Internet service provider, we want to continue to provide tips and resources on ways consumers can stay safe online," said Cathy Avgiris, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Communications and Data Services for Comcast Cable. "Some of the survey results were surprising because they showed that parents and teens may not be on the same page on a variety of online safety issues. As a result, we want to raise awareness about great resources for parents, teachers and caregivers to talk about how to be safe online with their kids or loved ones." 

Among other findings, the survey revealed that when using the Internet, 65 percent of parents say online security and safety is most important to them compared to only 46 percent of surveyed teens. This suggests teens are underestimating or are not fully aware of some of the risks associated with their online activities. 

"Because a child's exposure to and use of the Internet changes over time, it was important to create conversation starter guides for parents that represent the different stages of a child's life," said Dr. Rich. "For example, you can't talk to a preschooler about the Internet the same way you would talk to a teen about the Internet. The short and simple guides that have been developed can help parents navigate talks about things like safety, the amount of time spent online and appropriate online behavior." 

The guides are available to everyone, not just Comcast customers, and can be downloaded for free here, or at the Center for Media and Child Health website here

Additional survey highlights include: 

  • Across various Internet-connected devices, including personal computers, laptops, tablets and smart phones, teens feel safer online compared to parents. Thirty-nine percent of teens feel their personal data is very safe and secure on a personal computer or a laptop compared to 25 percent of parents. For smart phones in particular, more than twice as many teens as parents believe their data is safe from hackers or cybercriminals.

  • Teens' use of passwords is riskier than parents. Teens are much more likely to use the same password for every online account than are parents. Twenty-three percent of surveyed teens report that they use the same password for their online accounts compared to 14 percent of surveyed parents.

  • Roughly two-thirds of parents (66 percent) and teens (61 percent) believe they are in full control of what they post online and can take it down whenever they want. In fact, most parents and teens do not understand the reality that what goes online, stays online - and nearly three in 10 teens have posted something online that they later regretted.

  • Parents vary on the appropriate age for a child to start using the Internet. Thirty-six percent of parents surveyed believe the appropriate age for a child to start accessing the Internet is between the ages of 10 and 13; 35 percent of parents believe the appropriate age is between 6 and 9 and 12 percent of parents think a child 5 years old and under is the appropriate age to start using the Internet.

  • Parents are not aware of what their children are downloading on the Internet. Sixty-eight percent of teens surveyed say that they have downloaded a program or software without their parent's permission. However, only 35 percent of parents surveyed believe that their children have ever downloaded a program or software without their permission.

For more tips about Internet safety and to download four different Internet safety conversation starters, please click here.

For additional survey results, please click here.

Earlier this year, Comcast launched the Constant Guardâ„¢ Protection Suite, the most comprehensive suite of online security and safety of any major Internet service provider in the U.S. The addition of the Constant Guard Protection Suite for Xfinity Internet customers and "The Internet Talk" guides for all consumers are further examples of Comcast's continued efforts to promote Internet safety awareness and education. In addition, Comcast recently began rolling out Internet Essentials?, a program which offers families with children who are eligible to receive free lunches under the National School Lunch Program low-cost Internet service, affordable computers and digital literacy training.

About Comcast Cable
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) ( is one of the nation's leading providers of entertainment, information and communications products and services.  Comcast is principally involved in the operation of cable systems through Comcast Cable and in the development, production and distribution of entertainment, news, sports and other content for global audiences through NBCUniversal.  Comcast Cable is one of the nation's largest video, high-speed Internet and phone providers to residential and business customers.  Comcast is the majority owner and manager of NBCUniversal, which owns and operates entertainment and news cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, local television station groups, television production operations, a major motion picture company and theme parks.