The online generation gap: what you need to know
By Kidspot Team |
The online generation gap: what you need to know
Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll are not the only threat modern parents worry about for their teenagers – there’s a new bogeyman out there and it’s called social media. A new online study, supported by Google and Microsoft from America’s Family Online Safety Institute, however, offers some insights around teens, social media and online safety.
Given that Facebook barely existed when today’s teenagers were born, it’s hardly surprising parents fear their offspring’s propensity to photograph, share and overshare their lives on everything from Instagram to Skype to Facetime and networked games.
Then there’s cyber bullying to worry about – and let’s not mention the paranoia that wicked and violent teen gatecrashers will find an online party invite and gatecrash. Throw in online identity theft, inappropriate content and the new horrors of sexting and you’ve got one big bucket of fear and worry. 

Parents think they know what their kids do online – but the kids say they don’t 

When it comes to parents’ monitoring of their teens online or mobile activity, 39 percent of teens say their parents monitor their activities very (11 percent) or somewhat closely (28 percent). On the other hand, more than four in five (84 percent) parents report that they monitor their teens’ usage very (31 percent) or fairly (53 percent) closely – a 45-percentage-point gap in perceptions.
More than nine in 10 (91 percent) parents say they are well informed about what their teens do online and on their mobile phone, including more than one-third (37 percent) who say they are very well informed. By a difference of 29 percentage points, teens are less likely to say their parents are informed about their online activities. Three in five say their parents are very (21 percent) or somewhat (41 percent) well informed about their online behavior. 

Parents are most in the dark about social networking sites 

Differences in parents’ degree of knowledge about their teens’ activities and teens’ perceptions of their parents’ awareness are greatest when it comes to social networking platforms such as Twitter, Facebook or Google+, and media sharing sites like Tumblr and Pinterest.
The largest gap exists around teens’ use of Twitter, in which 38 percent of parents say they are well informed about their teen’s use of the site, while just 14 percent of teen Twitter users say the same of their parents—a difference of 24 percentage points. 

What kids worry about online 

Forty-four percent of teens surveyed count identity theft as their top concern, 32 percent worry their social media posts may create college application problems, and 30 percent worry their online behavior may get them in trouble at home. A majority of them use, and seek out privacy controls when they use social media.
Large majorities of parents say they have reviewed their teens’ online browsing history, and among those who say their child uses a smart phone, a large majority say they have reviewed sent and received text messages. In both cases, teens are much less likely to think their parents have done these things.
  • This article was written for Kidspot and is based on an article originally posted by Alex Brooks on
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