Teens still exercising poor judgment online
survey commissioned by Internet security giant, McAfee, Inc., suggests
that the online behavior of teens is still a cause for concern and that
many are putting themselves in vulnerable positions by sharing too much
information with strangers.
The study was conducted by Harris
Interactive last month and looked at the online habits of nearly one
thousand U.S. teens. Results were weighted for age, gender and
ethnicity, and the overall data is representative of U.S. tweens and
teens ages 10-17.
Talking to strangers
headlines warning of the dangers, the study found that teens are still
posting too much personal information on the Internet. Sixty-nine
percent of 13-17 year-olds have updated their status on social
networking sites to include their physical location, and 28 percent of
teens regularly chat with people they don’t know, with nearly half of
those sharing their first names.
Girls are more likely than boys
to chat with strangers online (32 percent v. 24 percent), and 13-15
year-old girls are more likely than boys to have given a description of
what they look like (16 percent vs. 7 percent).
“Kids know not to
talk to strangers – it’s one of the first lessons you teach them,” said
Tracy Mooney, McAfee Chief Cyber Security Mom and mother of three. “But
online, there’s a sense of trust and anonymity, so kids let their guard
down. Kids would never hand out their name and address to a stranger in
the real world, so it’s alarming to see how many kids do that very
Cyberbullying remains major problem for teens
other results, the survey reports that one-in-three teens knows someone
who has had mean or hurtful things posted about them online, and 14
percent of 13-17 year-olds admit to having engaged in some form of
cyberbullying in the previous four months.
The report clearly
suggests that the increased use of social networking sites such as
Facebook is opening the door to increased online harassment, as more
personal information is now available. Furthermore, incidents such as
sending anonymous e-mails and spreading rumors online tend to increase
as teens get older, suggesting that the large number of tweens that are
now online could face more cyberbullying in years to come.
More ways to get online
notion that parents can monitor their children’s online activities by
placing the home computer in the living room has been ruled out-of-date
by the rapid advances in wireless technology. Eighty-seven percent of
teens now go online somewhere other than at home, with over 30 per cent
of teens accessing the Web through a phone or video game console.
40 percent of teens don’t tell their parents what they do while they
are online and 36 percent say they would change their online behavior
if they knew their parents were watching.
“Like me, most parents
think they have a handle on what kind of online content their children
are exploring,” said Mooney. “This report makes it clear we need to be
much more involved with helping our kids make the right decisions
online. Education is key.”
The full report, “The Secret Online Lives of Teens”, can be accessed on the Web at http://us.mcafee.com/en-us/local/docs/lives_of_teens.pdf
Comment by Ellen Lebowitz, posted 7/6/2010, 11:35 AM:
This article, while somewhat alarming brings up the question,"What are kids looking for online that they can't find any other place?"
Are they lonely looking for friendship? Are they bored looking for excitement?
I think probably a little bit of both which is, in my opinion, a sign of a troubled culture.
Technology is great. It can entertain and it can educate but I feel sorry for the parents who have no idea where their kids are going online and what they're looking for in the digital world