Parenting teens and tweens in the digital age is something that we are all figuring out together, and most parents are very well aware that there are many important talks about tech you should have with your kids.
Keeping Up with Generation App: NCSA Parent/Teen Online Safety Survey, a new study co-sponsored by Microsoft and the National Cyber Security Alliance, surveyed 804 online teens between the ages of 13 and 17 and 810 online parents. The results showed that there are many things a majority of parents are doing right, and also highlighted some pretty big disconnects on keys topics and a need for ongoing communication between parents and kids.
First, the good news.
*78 percent of teens say that their parents have talked with them about ways to use the internet and mobile devices safely;
* 78 percent say their parents have talked to them about what should and should not be shared online or on cell phones;
* 73 percent of teens claim their parents have talked with them about ways to behave toward other people online or on the phone; and
* 68 percent of kids report having conversations with their parents about what they do online or on their mobile devices.
A large majority of parents are working to have ongoing conversations with their kids about best practices for safely using technology, which is great!
The results also showed, however, several disconnects in terms of perceptions of parents and teens when it comes to some basic ground rules.
These differences highlight some conversation you may want to revisit with your adolescent to make sure that you are both on the same page regarding your expectations.
* What are the rules for downloading new apps and using new social networks?
Fifty-four percent of parents stated they have rules about downloading new apps or joining social networks, but just 16 percent of teens said the same.
* Who should kids go to when they encounter a problem online?
Sixty-five percent of parents said their kids are likely to share problems with them "most of or all the time." That's a majority, so that's good, right? Well, the kids see it differently. Nearly half of teen respondents (48%) said they "never" or "rarely" turn to their parents.
Similarly, more than two-thirds of parents reported that their adolescents must tell them about incidents on their devices that make kids uncomfortable or frightened, but less than one third of kids said their parents had such a rule.
Emphasize to your child that you don't expect them to know how to navigate the internet solo, and that you're there to help, even when they've done something wrong. Remind them that they can come to you and that you're focused on helping rather than punishing.
* Do you know your kids' passwords?
Teens seem to think their parents don't feel strongly about them sharing passwords. A measly 16% said their parents have a rule that requires kids to share their passwords with their parents, whereas 50% of parents said they had such a rule.
The start of the school year is a good time to reset passwords. You can find tips for doing so here.
Saying you saw this study could be a good conversation starter for some of the important talks about tech you should have with your kids.
Here's an infographic detailing more findings from the study that may spur some additional conversations with your kids about technology and could serve as a guide for a tech tune-up talk as we embark on a new school year.
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