Lauren Asher, Kaiser Family Foundation - (650) 854-9400,
Michele Moore, Nickelodeon - (212) 846-7307
National Survey of Parents and Kids:
DISCRIMINATION AND SEXUAL PRESSURES "BIG PROBLEMS" FOR
TODAY'S TWEENS AND YOUNGER KIDS; PARENTS OFTEN WAIT FOR THEIR
KIDS TO RAISE TOUGH ISSUES
Launches Public Information Partnership with Kaiser Family Foundation
and Children Now to Get Kids and Parents Talking Together.
numbers of 8-11 year olds say teasing and bullying (74%), discrimination
and disrespect (43%), and threats of violence (38%) occur at their
school. One third of 10-11 year olds (33%) say that pressure to
have sex is a "big problem" for kids their age. Yet,
many parents still put off talking about tough issues with their
children, according to a new national survey of parents and kids.
are especially likely to delay talking about puberty, sex and
related issues. Two thirds of parents of 8-11 year olds (61%)
report that their child initiated the first conversation about
the basics of reproduction. In two out of five families, discussions
about puberty (40%) and HIV/AIDS (38%) were also started by the
when parents and kids do talk, the survey finds that the message
isn't always getting through. From a third to more than half of
8-11 year olds whose parents say they have talked with them about
a particular issue do not recall the conversation. For example,
59 percent of kids whose parents say they discussed HIV/AIDS don't
remember the conversation. Parents are also more likely than kids
to say that talks about these issues occur "regularly,"
while kids tend to recall just one or two discussions.
survey is being released today as part of the launch of a new
public information partnership between Nickelodeon, the number-one
kids' entertainment brand, and Talking with Kids About Tough Issues,
an ongoing campaign of the Kaiser Family Foundation and Children
Now, to encourage earlier and more frequent parent-child communication.
partnership has developed new multimedia resources to help parents
and kids talk together about issues like puberty and sex, violence,
alcohol/drugs, and respect. At www.everythingnick.com, parents
can get age-appropriate guidance and tips for raising difficult
topics with their kids. At www.nick.com/your_world, kids can take
a "Talk Challenge" and share experiences. Parents can
also call 1 800 CHILD 44 to receive a free guide developed exclusively
for the partnership by parenting expert and best-selling author
Dominic Cappello. Parents and kids can find out about these resources
through public service advertisements (PSAs) that begin airing
today on Nickelodeon and other Viacom properties, including VH-1,
TNN, CMT, Nick at Nite, and Noggin.
confront issues in everyday life and often have to make tough
choices. We want to encourage parent communication that can help
kids navigate "kid-dom" in a way that is real and meaningful
in their lives," said Marva Smalls, Executive Vice President,
Public Affairs, Nickelodeon. "This partnership with the Talking
with Kids About Tough Issues campaign is designed to give parents
the tools and empower kids to improve that dialogue."
Tough Issues Early
majority of parents of 8-11 year olds think growing up today is
"harder" than when they were kids (65%); even more parents
of adolescents (12-15 year olds) agree (78%). About half of 8-11
year olds say discrimination (51%) and violence (46%) are "big
problems" for kids their age; 44 percent say alcohol and
drug use are concerns. Nearly seven in ten (68%) say kids they
know already have boyfriends or girlfriends, and one in six (16%)
see other students kissing or making out at school. By adolescence,
these issues loom even larger in young people's lives.
parents have talked with their 8-11 year old about alcohol and
drugs (91%), discrimination (87%), and teasing and bullying (78%).
Fewer have discussed puberty (56%) or reproduction (49%). Many
parents of adolescents find it difficult to get beyond the basics;
less than half of parents of 12-15 year olds have discussed decision
making about sex (49%).
not just parents of teenagers anymore who stay up late worrying
about their kids. Tough issues are confronting kids at younger
ages," said Tina Hoff, Vice President, Public Health Information
and Partnerships, Kaiser Family Foundation. "This is a wake-up
call for parents to start talking early and often with their kids.
Through this partnership, we have developed new tools that can
kids, even those as young as 8, say they need to know more now
about topics parents may be reluctant to bring up. About half
of 8-11 year olds want to know more about discrimination (57%),
puberty (46%), alcohol and drugs (45%), and HIV/AIDS (41%). Older
kids also say they still need more information about these issues,
as well as about sexual decision making (46% of 12-15 year olds).
kids today are growing up in an increasingly complicated world.
Talking with kids about sex or alcohol is as important for their
safety as talking to them about buckling a seat belt," said
Lois Salisbury, President, Children Now. "When parents talk
early about these issues, kids are more likely to maintain open
communications and make wiser decisions."
kids want to know more, they also worry about how their parents
will react if they go to them with a tough issue. Among the reasons
kids don't go to their parents when something is bothering them,
is that they don't want to worry them (61%). Seven out of ten
8-11 year olds (67%), and 81 percent of 12- 15 year olds, say
they keep things secret from their parents at least some of the
Nickelodeon/Talking with Kids National Survey of Parents and Kids
is a nationally representative survey of parents and their children
age 8-15. The survey was designed by staff at Nickelodeon, the
Kaiser Family Foundation, and International Communications Research
(ICR) and conducted by telephone by ICR between December 7, 2000
and January 18, 2001.
total of 1,249 parents of children age 8-15 and 823 children age
8-15 were interviewed for this survey, including oversamples of
African Americans and Latinos. Depending on the preference of
the respondent, interviews were conducted in English or Spanish.
Certain questions were not asked of all age groups.
margin of sampling error is ± 3% for the total sample of
parents, ± 4% for the total sample of children, and may
be larger for certain subsets represented in this analysis.
now in its 22nd year, is the number-one entertainment brand for
kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids
first in everything it does. The company includes television programming
and production in the United States and around the world, plus
consumer products, online, recreation, books, magazines and feature
films. Nickelodeon's U.S. television network is seen by nearly
80 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic
cable network for more than five consecutive years. Nickelodeon
and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of
Viacom International Inc.
Kaiser Family Foundation is an independent, national health philanthropy
dedicated to providing information and analysis on health issues
to policymakers, the media, and the general public. The Kaiser
Family Foundation is not associated with Kaiser Permanente or
Now is a nonpartisan, independent voice for America's children.
Using innovative research and communication strategies, Children
Now promotes pioneering solutions to problems facing America's
With Kids About Tough Issues is a national campaign by the Kaiser
Family Foundation and Children Now, established in 1995, to encourage
parents to talk earlier (before adolescence) and more often with
their children about "tough issues," including sex,
violence, alcohol and drugs, and respect. The campaign offers
free resources to parents by calling 1 800 CHILD 44 or
the new partnership with Nickelodeon, Talking with Kids now includes
direct outreach to kids including fun activities to promote family
talks at www.nick.com/your_world,
as well as resources for parents at www.everythingnick.com.
A free print guide for parents developed exclusively for the partnership
is also available by calling the campaign's hotline.