A new study called ?The Digital Divide: How the Online Behavior of Teens is Getting Past Parents? (conducted by Tru Research and commissioned by McAfee) shows an alarming 70% of teens have hidden their online behavior from their parents, up from 45% in 2010. And yet half of parents live under the assumption that their teen tells them everything he/she does online.
It?s perfectly normal for teens to be less than forthcoming during these years when their hormones are raging and teen angst boggles their brain and body. However the Internet has drastically changed our culture and teens today have access to an incredible amount of information that they didn?t have, just a decade ago.
This instant access to information and digital devices is having an impact on our teens that many of us as parents don?t realize. Some of the revealing consequences are:
- Friendships ? 20% of teens said they had ended a friendship with someone because of something that happened on a social network.
- Physical safety ? 7% feared for their safety because of something that happened online, and 5% reported getting into a physical fight because of a problem that started online. More than 1 in 10 (12%) of teens have met someone in real life that they only knew online.
- Criminal record ? 15% said they have hacked someone?s social networking account and 31% have pirated music and movies.
- Cheating ? 48% of teens admitted to looking for test answers online, and 16% have used a smartphone to do this.
- Innocence - 46% of teens report accidentally accessing pornography online and 32% reported accessing pornography intentionally.
And what about the parents? The study showed:
- 1 in 3 believes their teen to be much more tech-savvy then they are, leaving them feeling helpless to keep up with their teen?s online behaviors.
- 22% of parents do not believe their kids can get into trouble online.
- Less than 1 in 10 parents are aware their teens are hacking accounts or downloading pirated content.
- 78% of parents are not worried about their kids cheating at school.
- Only 12% of parents thought their children accessed pornography online.
You can download the full report and read more of the McAfee security blogger's thoughts here: Do You Know What Your Teens Are Doing Online? | Blog Central
Another study found that teens who engage in "sexting" are much more likely to engage in other risky sexual behaviors, like unprotected sex. Peer pressure seems to be at play with this one, because teens who report sexting are 17 times more likely to have a friend who also sext.
What do you think? It seems like every parent says they're the ones putting on parental controls, checking their kids' accounts, talking about internet safety, talking about privacy & safe sex, etc. And yet nearly 3/4 of the teens polled said they've been successful at hiding their online activities from their parents, and half of them know someone who has sexted. What to do, as a parent, as a society?