June 25, 2012

Survey: 70% of teens hide online behavior from parents

6-25-2012 National:

Here's a real shocker: Teens are better than their parents at using the Internet, and are likely to hide some of their online behaviors from them.

That news comes from a 2,017-person survey funded by the online security software maker McAfee, which is pushing a product that helps parents monitor their kids online.

Seventy percent of teens "hide their online behavior" from parents, according to the report, which was released Monday. That's up from 45% in 2010, the group says.

These hidden behaviors include some things you might expect -- such as accessing violent (43%) or pornographic (32%) content online -- but also a few surprises. Fifteen percent of teens have hacked into social networks; 9% have hacked into e-mail accounts; 12% have met face to face with a person he or she met on the Internet; and 16% of teens surveyed said they had used their phones to cheat on tests at school.

McAfee said parents are often unaware of these behaviors.

"Parents, you must stay in-the-know," McAfee's Robert Siciliano wrote in a blog post. "Since your teens have grown up in an online world, they may be more online savvy than their parents, but you can't give up. You must challenge yourselves to become familiar with the complexities of the teen online universe and stay educated on the various devices your teens are using to go online.

"As a parent of two young girls, I proactively participate in their online activities and talk to them about the 'rules of the road' for the Internet. I'm hoping that this report opens the eyes of parents to become more involved and also consider using technology such as McAfee Safe Eyes to protect their kids online."

There's the product pitch. McAfee Safe Eyes, like similar products from other security companies, lets parents spy on their kids' online behaviors and block certain websites. According to an online description of the product, Safe Eyes lets parents log the social-media posts and instant message conversations of their children. ..For the rest of this post: by John D. Sutter, CNN

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