Earlier this month, McAfee released its annual study examining what tweens and teens do online and how they use social media. They conduct their survey on an annual basis and reported this year's finding in the study 2014 Teens and the Screen study: Exploring Online Privacy, Social Networking and Cyberbullying.
Here are some of the more surprising findings about tween and teen behavior on the internet.
* 49% of youth have regretted something they have posted online.
* 59% of kids surveyed engage with strangers online.
* 50% of youth have been involved in an argument because of something posted on social media, up from 33% last year.
* 52% do not turn off their location or GPS services across apps, making it possible for strangers and predators to pinpoint their exact location.
* 30% of kids share their phone number and 14% posted their home addresses online, up from last year.
* 87% of youth have witnessed cyberbullying.
* 92% of respondents visiting Instagram on a weekly basis.
* 45% said they would act differntly online if their parents were watching, despite the fact that 90% said their parents trust them to do what is right online.
What does this all mean for parents?
It's good to have an idea of what tweens and teens are doing online. Even if you believe your child is not engaging in such behavior or if you have not permitted them to have social media accounts, you still need to know what's going on with their peers.
These finding emphasize the need for parental involvement in kids' online lives. Some are engaging in risky behavior. Parents need to have logins and passwords, they need to monitor their kids' accounts and their kids need to know that their parents are doing so.
Use this study as a good jumping off point for conversation with your tween or teen about what they've seen online and what their friends have done. It is often easier for kids to talk about others than themselves.
It also means that parents need to continue to be aware of the sites their kids frequent. Given the findings about Instragram, it could be good to start with the post "Keeping kids safe on Instagram: What parents need to know." Also, learn the one question experts advise that you need to ask your child about their online friends.
You can find all of the Tween Us posts about Online Safety here.
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