Friday, August 14, 2009

Do You Know What Your Teenagers Are Doing Online?

According to the study referenced here, probably not. Maybe this is a good opportunity to share this information with your teens and have a frank discussion of online dos and don'ts. Here's an assignment I give kids in the Student Activity Guide for my Engineering and Technology textbook:
Work with your parents to create a Media Use Contract, which will establish rules and limits appropriate for you and your online activities. You should include in this how your parents intend to monitor you, your expectation of privacy and potential consequences should the contract be broken. 
Maybe it's time to sit down with your kids and write your own Media Use Contract.

Parents underestimate teenagers’ online activity
Common Sense Media has released a national poll of teens and parents on social networking behaviors that confirms teenagers continue to find social media sites compelling and that parents may not be fully aware of what their offspring are doing online.

Highlights of the poll’s key findings include:

  • 22% of teens check social networking sites more than 10 times a day, while only 4% of parents believe kids are checking that much
  • 51% of teens check social networking sites more than once a day, while only 23% of parents say their kids check more than once a day
Not all activities are positive:
  • 28% of teens have shared personal information that they normally wouldn’t have shared in public
  • 25% of teens have shared a profile with a false identity
  • 39% of teens have posted something they regretted
  • 26% of teens have pretended to be someone else online
  • 25% of teens have created a profile with a false identity.
  • 24% of teens have hacked into someone else’s social networking account.
  • 13% of teens have posted nude or seminude pictures or videos of themselves or others online.

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