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Source: Cox High Speed Internet news release

The Consumer Electronics Association is forecasting the 2013 Holiday Season to be the largest electronic sales season ever. With electronic gifts on the rise and children out of school on winter break, Cox Communications would like to remind parents to take measures to keep children safe while using the Internet.

Cox and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) announced today the latest survey results on how teens use the Internet.

The large survey sample included more than 1,300 teens in 13 states across the country, including Virginia, and was designed to help parents understand their teens' Internet habits and how they can better protect their children.

"The average household has more than six devices connected to the Internet, and parents are struggling to monitor teens' Internet use now that mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones are so prevalent," said Cox Virginia Senior Vice President and General Manager Gary McCollum.

"With consumer electronics at the top of most holiday shopping lists, it is more important than ever to raise awareness of teens' Internet behaviors and help parents become familiar with the tools they can use to monitor and control Internet use - even when they are not physically present."

The Cox/NCMEC survey results tell a compelling story about the growing role the Internet plays in American society. Key findings about teens surveyed in Virginia are compared to national trends, including:

•Local teens spend nearly five and a half hours online every day, including time spent at school. This represents nearly one third of their waking hours.

• 97 percent of teens in Virginia access the Internet using a mobile device, making it harder for parents to monitor Internet activity.

•Local teens spend two and a half hours playing online games in an average day, and 61 percent of these teen gamers interact with other gamers online.

• 96 percent of local teens check social media accounts at least a few times a week. Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest are rising social media destinations among teens; however Facebook and YouTube are still the most popular.

•Most teens readily share personal information online. 73 percent of local teens have posted pictures or videos of themselves, friends or family online, equal to the national average. 20 percent of local teens have posted their cell phone number online.

• 50 percent of teens have received a personal message (an email, Facebook message or chat) from someone they don't know, compared to 61 percent nationally. (16 percent of local teens will respond to the message, 76 percent reported ignoring them.)

•Of the teens surveyed, 56 percent said they have actually met with someone in person that they first met online.

•Nearly two out of three local teens try to cover their tracks. 61 percent of teens surveyed in Virginia have taken measures to hide Internet activity, well above the national average of 50 percent.

An encouraging sign is that many parents are talking to teens about Internet safety; 84 percent of parents have talked to their teens about online safety at some point, and 77 percent (69 percent locally) have talked to their teens about Internet safety within the past year. When Cox first started this survey with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 2005, less than 25 percent of parents were talking to their teens about Internet safety.

In contrast, the majority of parents don't use parental control software available to monitor their teens' activity online. With those parents who do use parental control software, 75% of parents in Virginia have given their parental controls password to their kids, compared to the national average of 46%. Parental controls are an important safety measure as teens are no longer tethered to a desktop computer in a shared common area where parents can visually monitor their behavior.

As part of its effort to help families enjoy a safe and rewarding online experience, Cox High Speed Internet customers can download free parental control software powered by McAfee. For more information about parental control software for computers and mobile devices and other Internet safety tips for parents and teens, log onto

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