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1 Year : From May 2012 to May 2013
McAfee, the world’s largest dedicated security technology company, today
released findings from the company’s 2012 Teen Internet Behavior study.
The study investigates the online habits, behaviors, interests, and
lifestyles of the first generation to truly grow up online, and
discloses how teens are not only engaging in risky behaviors, but how
they are hiding it from their parents, many of whom don’t realize they
are being fooled. The study also exposes ten ways teens are hiding their
online activities from their parents.
Despite their awareness of online dangers, teens continue to take risks
by posting personal information and risky photos online, unbeknownst to
parents. Many teens are accessing inappropriate online content, despite
73.5% of parents whom trust their teens to not access age-inappropriate
content online. Specifically 43% of teens have accessed simulated
violence online, 36% have access sexual topics online, and 32% have
accessed nude content or pornography online.
Nearly half of parents believe their teens tell them everything they do
online and insist they are in control when it comes to monitoring their
teen’s online behaviors. However, the study reveals that teens deceiving
their parents are on the rise, as over 70% of teens have found ways to
avoid parental monitoring, compared to 2010, where 45% of teens have
hidden their online behavior from a parent. The top 10 ways teens are
fooling their parents include:
Clearing the browser history (53%)
Close/minimize browser when parent walked in (46%)
Hide or delete IMs or videos (34%)
Lie or omit details about online activities (23%)
Use a computer your parents don’t check (23%)
Use an internet-enabled mobile device (21%)
Use privacy settings to make certain content viewable only by friends
Use private browsing modes (20%)
Create private email address unknown to parents (15%)
Create duplicate/fake social network profiles (9%)
As teens continue to outsmart their parents online, more and more teens
are participating in dangerous and even illegal activities.
Surprisingly, 15% of teens have hacked a social network account, 30.7%
access pirated movies and music, and 8.7% have hacked someone’s email
online, while less than 15% of parents are aware their children are
engaging in any of these behaviors. Instant access to information has
also made it easier than ever for teens to cheat in school with 16% of
teens having admitted to looking for test answers on their phone, and
48.1% of teens having looked up answers online. Meanwhile 77.2% of
parents said they were not very or not at all worried about their teens
cheating online, again showing the disconnect.
“While it is not necessarily surprising that teens are engaging in the
same types of rebellious behaviors online that they exhibit offline, it
is surprising how disconnected their parents are,” says Stanley
Holditch, Online Safety Expert for McAfee. “There is a major increase in
the number of teens finding ways to hide what they do online from their
parents, as compared to the 2010 study. This is a generation that is so
comfortable with technology that they are surpassing their parents in
understanding and getting away with behaviors that are putting their
safety at risk.”
In addition to putting themselves in risky situations, teens are finding
that much of this online behavior is attributing to personal problems.
In fact, over half of teens with a social network account have already
experienced negative consequences as a result of being on a social
network account, such as arguing with friends (35.4%), getting into
trouble at home or school (25.2%), ending friendships (20%), fearing for
their safety (6.8%), and physical fights (4.5%). Conversely, many
parents live in denial, with only 22% claiming that their teens can get
into that much trouble online.
Despite the classic “not my kid” denial, many parents are starting to up
the ante with online monitoring to help keep their kids safe online by:
setting parental controls (49%), obtaining email and social network
passwords (44%), taking away computer and mobile devices (27%), and
using location-based devices to keep track of teens (10%). But there are
still some parents so overwhelmed by technology that they are throwing
up their hands and hoping for the best. In fact, 23% of the surveyed
parents disclosed that they are not monitoring their children’s online
behaviors because they are overwhelmed by technology.
“Parents need to get informed about their children’s online behavior,”
says Robert Siciliano, McAfee Online Security Expert. “The fact is that
allowing teens to participate in unmonitored online activity exposes
them to real dangers with real consequences, and these dangers are
growing exponentially with the proliferation of social networks.”
Other key findings included:
Teens spend more time online than their parents think. On
average, teens spend about five hours a day online; while parents only
think their kids spend an average of three hours a day online. Nearly
10% of teens (10.3%) spend more than 10 hours a day online
Parents are blind to how much teens check social networks.
Teens are glued to their news feeds with 60% of social network users
checking their accounts daily and 41% checking their accounts
constantly. Only 48% of parents think their teens check their accounts
daily, and only 22% believe their teens check their accounts
Despite the rise of smartphones Generation Z goes online old
school. Generation Z spends more time online via laptops (37.35%)
and desktops (29.8%) compared to smartphones (13.48%) and tablets (5%).
Teens don’t think online friends are dangerous strangers. 12%
of teens reported meeting someone offline that they only knew through
Foursquare and check-in sites dwindling. Facebook was the most
popular site with 89.5% of teens using it, followed by Twitter
(48.7%), Google+ (41.5%), Tumblr (33%), Pintrest (20%), 4chan (23%),
and MySpace (18%). Foursquare and location-based sites were the least
popular among teens (12.2%).
4chan and Tumblr are on the rise. Tumblr and 4chan networks are
increasing in popularity with a distinct divide between who prefers
each site. Tumblr is more popular with teen females (40.9%) and 4chan
is more popular with teen males (29.8%). As popular as these networks
are become, many parents are unaware of their existence and their
teen’s usage. Only 13% of parents believe their teens are active on
4chan or other online image boards or discussion boards, and only 16%
of parents believe their teens are active on Tumblr.
Teens stalk rather than share. Half of teens claim their social
network time is spent mostly observing others’ activities, rather than
actively posting anything, themselves. 39% describe themselves as more
engaged (chatting, posting, etc…) and 6% say they share almost
When teens do share, parents need to beware. 49% of teens post
risky comment on social networks (such as foul language - 39% and
hooking up with someone - 10%), with 16.3% of those comments
containing information they would not want their parents to know
about. 21.5% of teens post photos on social networks, with 7.5%
featuring those teens in revealing clothing and 4.1% feature
Nearly two in three teens agree their parents know some of what
they do online, but notably, not everything. Two in three teens
say their parents don’t need to know everything they do online. In
fact, half of teens would actually change their online behavior if
they knew their parents were watching.
Some parents just throw their hands up in defeat. One in three
believes their teen to be much more tech-savvy then they are, leaving
them feeling helpless to keep up with their teen’s online behaviors.
23% admitting that they were overwhelmed by modern technologies and
just hope for the best. With just as many claiming they don’t have the
time or energy to keep up with everything these teens do online.
Parents don’t think teens look at porn online. Only 12% of
parents think their teen’s access pornography online, when 32% of
teens have accessed porn intentionally online and 43% of them access
it on a weekly basis, if not more frequently. Additionally, 36% of
teens have accessed sexual topics online, such as STD’s and issues on
pregnancy, with more females than males doing so.
Cyberbullying is on the rise. 62.1% of all teens have witnessed
cruel behavior online and 23.3% have claimed to be targets of
cyberbullying, while only 10% of parents believe their teens have been
targeted online. Whites are most likely to be targeted (25.3%), as
well as 16-17 year olds (26.2%).
Teens don’t just witness cruel behavior, they join in. Teens
have felt social pressure to participate in cyberbullying, with 9.5%
of teens actually bullying, and 24.9% posting mean comments.
Facebook is the new school yard for bullies. 93% of teens who
have witnessed cruel behavior online say that majority of cruel online
behavior took place on Facebook. Furthermore half of teens have had a
negative experience as a result of a social network site. Email was
reported as one of the safest online activity with only 6.37% of teens
reporting cruel behavior, followed by online forums (9.6%) and Tumblr
TRU conducted a total of 2,017 online interviews in the U.S. among teens
ages 13-17 and parents of teens ages 13-17. These interviews were split
evenly among 1,004 teens and 1,013 parents of teens. The parent/teen
samples yield a margin of error of + 3.1 percentage points. The total
sample of 2,017 yields a margin of error of + 2.2 percentage points. The
interviews were conducted from May 4th through May 29th, 2012.
Interviews among teens were split evenly by age and gender. Interviews
among parents were split fairly evenly by gender, as well as by age and
gender of their teen. The sample was comprised of 15% Hispanic and 15%
African American respondents and achieved geographic distribution
according to the US census.
To learn more, please visit:
Report - http://www.mcafee.com/us/resources/misc/digital-divide-study.pdf
Blog Post - https://blogs.mcafee.com/consumer/thedigitaldividestudy
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