According to a recent study, Asian, Hispanic and black parents are more concerned about online safely issues than whites.

It's no secret that parents are often worried about the safety of their children who constantly use the Internet. The fear of strangers taking advantage of their kids is probably the root cause of this worry. Other factors include exposure to pornography, violent content and bullying.

Researchers from Northwestern University revealed in a new press release that Asian, Hispanic and black parents are more concerned about online safely issues than whites.

"Policies that aim to protect children online talk about parents' concerns, assuming parents are this one homogenous group," said Eszter Hargittai, co-author of the study. "When you take a close look at demographic backgrounds of parents, concerns are not uniform across population groups."

Researchers also noted that black parents are significantly more concerned than white parents about children meeting harmful strangers or being exposed to pornography, but not about other issues.

For the study, researchers examined data from a U.S. nationally representative online survey of parents and guardians with children of  ages 10 to 14 in their households. More than 1,000 parents took part. The survey collected information regarding the parents' gender, race, ethnicity, age, education, household income, region, metro area, political ideology, religiosity, and the age and gender of the children.

All parents were presented with five online scenarios that their child might face while using the Internet. They were then asked to rate the scenarios on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the one that worried them the most. Listed below are the scenarios and their average ratings.

  • Child meeting a stranger who means to do harm (4.3/5)
  • Child being exposed to pornographic content (4.2/5)
  • Child being exposed to violent content (3.7/5)
  • Child being a victim of online bullying (3.5/5)
  • Child bullying another child online (2.4/5)

Socioeconomic status factors seemed to have some influence on parents' levels of concern, but they seemed less important when also taking into account race and ethnicity, the researchers revealed.

"Our study highlights how parental concern differs by demographic factors, notably race and ethnicity," said co-author Danah Boyd, a principal researcher at Microsoft Research and a research assistant professor at New York University. "This raises significant questions about policies intended to empower parents. Which parents -- and, in turn, which youth -- are being empowered by the interventions being developed?"