Nearly half of parents believe their teens tell them everything they do online, but a new study says that just isn’t the case. It’s no surprise that teens know more about the internet than their parents, but what kids are really doing online might surprise you.
One mom says, “I think kids are a lot smarter than we give them credit for. And I think they can find a lot of stuff that they shouldn’t be looking at.”
Security firm MC-AFEE surveyed thousands of teens and their parents and found some surprising trends. For example, 70 percent of teens hide what they do online from their parents. These online activities can range from cheating to adult website.
Another parent says, “Sometimes when you google something, something totally different pops up. It could be an image that a young child, 13, 12, really isn’t expecting and shouldn’t be seeing.”
Many teens are even using tricks to hide their tracks. Some tricks include creating secondary email addresses and social network profiles parents don’t know about, hiding or deleting instant message conversations, minimizing browser windows when parents walk in the room and clearing out their browser history.
Another parent says she’s aware of these tricks. “They know how to hide their history, and searches, and I really do wish I was more savvy,” she explains, “I’m lucky my kids are a little bit older now.”
Teens also spend more time online than their parents think. An average of five hours a day versus the three parents thought. Most of that time is spent on social networks like Facebook.
“Yeah, I think it’s is pretty important to her. It’s become core of her social network. For better or worse. Kind of our reality now,” explains one parent.
Another parent admits she knows her kids are hiding their online activities. She says, “They friended me, but totally restricted. So I can’t even see their pictures. So I have no idea.”
Facebook is also the new place teens are likely to be bullied. 62% said they’ve witnessed online bullying, a majority which take place on the social network.
“It’s one of my big fears,” expresses one parent, “I don’t know how to deal with it when I get to that point. But i hope that I will teach her to be confident and strong and she can stand up for herself.”
While parental controls can help what your teens see online, most parents either don’t use them or don’t know how.