The internet provides unparalleled access to information and communication for our generation compared to all the rest of history. Yet with the world at our fingertips there are dangers to beware. This is especially true for teenagers who lack the discernment and maturity of an adult, yet who have more interaction and access to the web with the rise of mobile devices.
In a recent release called “The Digital Divide”, McAfee Software Company revealed insights from their study of teen online behavior and parental knowledge.
The statistics make us rethink our perception:
- On average, teens spend about five hours a day online, while parents think their kids spend two hours a day online.
- 43% of teens intentionally access simulated violence online (only 15% of parents are aware)
- 32% of teens intentionally access nude content or porn online (only 12% of parents are aware)
- 12% of teens met with someone in person that they met online (4% of parents are aware of this)
- 70% of teens have hidden their online behavior from their parents
- 50% of teens would actually change their online behavior if they knew their parents were watching
Ignorance is not bliss. This is not an issue that parents should ignore. This is the age we live in and we must be responsible in it.
This was a crazy statistic. Half of teens claimed they would actually change their online behavior if they knew their parents were watching. The key for parents is to find healthy ways to facilitate transparency with their kids without becoming overbearing.
One healthy step in which parents can facilitate this transparency is by engaging their teenager in ongoing dialogue about their online habits. Parents can set up both responsibility and accountability for online behavior. Youth leaders can also provide a safe environment for students to disclose what they’re really doing online.
As students head back to school, how are you talking with them about their online lives?
Your fellow worker in the field, Adam