16 March, 2011

Teens Online

Microsoft polled 8,000 teens and parents about internet usage. Here are what they found out about teens:

Teens (14-18 years old):

  • 67% of teens have cleared out their browser history or cache to make sure their parents couldn’t view their online activity. 31% do this “always” or “regularly.”
  • 39% of teens admit to looking at websites or playing online games that their parents would likely disapprove of.
  • 15% of teenagers allow all Internet users access to their information on social networks. 85% restrict access to only family and friends or use privacy settings to limit access in some way.
  • 15% of children admitted they had communicated something on a social network that was intended to be hurtful or intimidating to another person.
  • 44% have lied about their age when online.
  • 75% have been contacted by a stranger. 37% of those who have been contacted responded to that stranger. Only 4% told someone older that they trusted, 10% were scared by it, and 11% were worried. 
  • 23% of teenagers would feel comfortable making friends with adults online
  • 18% would feel comfortable revealing secrets online they would not ordinarily share.
So what does say? First, if 67% of teens are clearing out the history, they are doing something they don't want their parents to know about. It's as simple as that. You don't hide stuff if you are doing what you should. 

The internet should be like every other area in a child's life - something their parent is engaged in. Some friends won't let their kids have a Facebook unless they keep their parent their friend. Others make their kids give them their password (I think that is a bit extreme unless you have a good reason to doubt your child.  

Overall, "just over a third (36 per cent) of parents admit they do not monitor their children's online movements or internet postings. 26 per cent of parents do not take any action to limit or control their children's internet use at home." (cite

The data was released in conjunction with Safer Internet Day (who knew!) on 8 February. "This year’s Safer Internet Day will focus on the theme “it’s not a game, it’s your life,” which will underscore the fact that whether children are entertaining themselves on social networking sites, sharing videos or pictures, or playing games online, the things they share and the things they say can have profound consequences." (cite