These are tough times for America's parents. Many of them are out of work, others are working more hours for less money, and a majority of them fear that their current financial hardship will last years, not months.
Now add to that the stress and strain of raising a family and you can easily understand why so many Americans are anxious, annoyed and angry about their lives today. But what is most distressing to me, a pollster, is the loss of confidence in the future and the fear among parents that their children will not achieve the same quality of life that they or their parents achieved. Only 12 percent of parents say they are living in worse conditions than their parents, yet 44 percent believe their children will have it worse than them.
Consider the following anxious results from a poll I completed last week with 600 parents nationwide (margin of error plus or minus 4%) readying their children for a new school year:
- 78 percent are "concerned about the values and behavior of the children who interact with my child."
But it gets worse. Parents are frightened by the impact of modern technology on their children, and they feel almost hopeless to protect them. Consider these results:
- A majority (54 percent) believe their kids "are exposed to negative influences on the web, email, and texting."
We've all read stories of predators surfing the web in search of unsuspecting kids to prey upon. More recently, several students have taken their own lives after being "cyber-bullied," and child protection organizations have concluded that "sexting," which doesn't yet qualify as a word according to spell-check, is growing at epidemic proportions among America's youth. And with the overall increase in texting (75 percent of parents say their kids text more than talk on their cell phones), it has become virtually impossible for parents to protect their children and prevent them from harm.
A number of firms have made a pretty penny offering parents the technology to protect their children from the web. Enter Mousemail.com, the first company that gives parents full control over their children's texting. Their patented technology prevents potentially damaging texts from reaching the child before a parent has seen and okayed it.
Let me emphasize that point. The most important aspect of Mousemail.com is that it is a preventative technology -- it stops the damage before it occurs. As a language advisor, the name Mousemail.com is a bit infantile, but what it does is as serious as any technology out there.
It's time for the rest of Silicon Valley and the new tech community to step up to the plate. You've created an incredible world of possibilities for kids and their parents. Now spend just a little more time, effort and resources making that world safe, and a lot of moms won't be quite so angry.
Dr. Frank Luntz is a pollster and communication's advisor to a dozen Fortune 100 companies, an advisory board member for MouseMail.com, and is a regular contributor to Fox News.