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 CentralA 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:
And what about the parents? The study showed:
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Sexting Linked to Sexual Activity in Teens - ABC News
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?
70% of the U.S. population now lives in a state where same-sex marriage is legal. At 36 and counting!
This is one area where I believe it takes a village. My children are not quite old enough for this to be a problem (although I know it is coming soon), however many of my nieces and nephews and my MIL's foster children are. The worst offenders I know are my In-law's foster children. My In laws are 67 and 70 and are just not up on all the on-line problems. I have more than once called MIL up and said "X" is happening. In other situations I would stay out of their parenting decisions. In this situation though, I know it is because they are unaware. I have seen the 15 year old post in dating websites that are for and full of adults. In the same way, when my girls are older I expect my SIL's and BIL's to let me know if anything suspicious shows up on line. If they block a post from me, I would depend on friends and family to tell me. I also plan to do all of the safe internet things mentioned in the previous posts.
Yikes. I'm so not ready for teenagers.
CARRIE and DH 7/14/07
Okay, the "sexting" thing is just silly. (That word cracks me up, by the way.)
As I suspected and then read it right in the article, the sexting isn't leading to sex, the sex is leading to sexting. If they're already having sex, they're more likely to send sexually explicit texts, that's hardly a revelation. Makes for a nice headline, though.
The rest of it. . .I think online or off, parents have to be parents. It doesn't matter where these things are happening; they've always happened and there are kids who get into situations that lead to trouble and kids who don't, and an open dialogue is the key, as always, and sometimes there are things you just can't control.
I agree with Bonita, too, that it takes a village both online and off. It's just about learning to navigate the new landscape.
I really think it all comes out to the same stats whether or not it's online. The issues are parents, teens, teenage sex, etc., not social networks and the internet. Social networks make it easier in some ways, but also easier to track because parents can actually find the stuff. The internet has made porn a lot more accessible, that's the big change I think, but otherwise it's all the same basic issues around teens, parenting, and all that comes with it.
Laurie, mom to:
Nathaniel ( 11 ) and Juliet ( 7 )
Baking Adventures In A Messy Kitchen (blog)
Both Sean and I are former computer techs and so we have the ability to lock things down and do tracking that most parents don't have the skills for.
We were visiting my sister a few years ago and she had us do some computer work for her. We found tons of porn on the computer and she was shocked (I wasn't, she has 5 boys) and said it was not her boys must have been on the computer before.... we put a key logger on the system and told her which of her boys it was. She is still in denial over it...
Even with our computer skills I am sure Robbie will try and pull some stuff on us and may even succeed.
Sean (38 )
Robbie (8 )
Bailey (April 2, 2011)
"The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind." Caroline Myss
I'm not surprised. I think any parent who thinks that their teenager isn't doing anything sneaky is delusional. Parents often think because they put these controls on that they get a free pass from monitoring. Not so.
Mom to Elizabeth (6) and Corinne (4)
Not surprised at all. We talk pretty openly about what is on the net, my kids are so far totally disgusted, but I am sure they may be curious in the next few years. I am hoping to keep the dialogue open, and hoping they will come to me with any questions.
That being said, my BF's hubby is a network engineer and just generally a hacker. He put some stuff on our computer to watch for this, and he lets us know if there is anything we should know about. And our kids will not have smart phones for a long long time, cheating on tests is one thing I find absolutely deplorable
Molly, Morgan, Mia and Carson
Definitely not surprised. Our computer is in our main room of our house and the kids dont have mobile phones yet but a lot of emmas friends do. It's impossible to watch them constantly and they have a lot of tone to sneak around. There is no easy way to prevent that. I agree with Laurie. Open dialogue is important. Problem I have is that Emma is not naturally an open talker. Even if I build an environment where she should feel comfortable talking to me about things, she didn't very willingly discuss stuff. That worries me. Not that I think she is doing anything bad right now, but just going forward I will constantly worry that we are not something that should be addressed simply because I don't know about it.
My kids will never (unless pigs fly and I therefore change my mind) have a computer in their room. I do feel strongly about having a family computer that is in a main area, making it less private. I also agree with what others have said that kids WILL sneak around, and that I need to find a way to keep the conversation open. But yeah, thinking of my girls as teenagers is scary!!
Kim, I was like Emma...I loved my mom but didn't want to talk to her about boys, sex, or lots of other stuff. She desperately wanted me to, and would always try to open the conversation, but I just didn't like to talk to her about it. Luckily, I always hated the thought of hurting my parents, so that is what primarily kept me on the straight and narrow.
CARRIE and DH 7/14/07
Just want to say sorry for the terrible non-sensical post. Carrie, i'm impressed that you could even understand it. I typed it on my mobile phone and auto-correct butchered it.
I'll fix it later. i actually don't have the time to now!