This week, internet security pioneer McAfee released the results of its annual survey on youth internet use titled Tweens, Teens and Technology. The survey details the online experience of 1,033 Australian teens and tweens interviewed last month, but we think that the results are largely representative of the internet experience of young people in most developed countries.
Some of the highlights are as follows. All data from McAfee.
Underage Facebook use is rising rapidly. Despite the 13-year-old age limit, in 2014:
- 31% of 8-9 year-olds have a Facebook account
- 60% of 10-12 year-olds have a Facebook accounts
- In 2013, only 26% of 8 – 12 year-olds overall reported using Facebook
Cyberbullying is also on the rise:
- 81% have witnessed cyberbullying of someone online, up from 56% from 2013
- 39% have been cyberbullied themselves
- 15% admit to being guilty of cyberbullying
- For kids who witnessed cyberbullying, 62% reported it to someone (this is a good number relative to similar U.S. statistics, which tend to be under 50%)
Social media is a popularity contest for many:
- 6% kids post profile photos that are not their own
- 12% try to appear older via their online identity
- 50% feel more important or popular when they receive a lot of likes
- 41% wish they received more likes
- 22% feel depressed when they don’t receive a lot of likes
Parents struggle to keep up:
- 49% of teens and tweens say their parents can’t keep up with the technology
- 70% say their parents only know some of what they do online
- 52% say they know how to hide their activity from their parents
- 70% have taken specific steps to hide their activity from parents
Monitoring tween and teen internet activity is a real challenge for parents, as these and other data bear out. In the words of Generation Z author Don Tapscott:
“This is the first time in history kids know more than adults about something really imporant to society — maybe the most important thing.”
Does that sound familiar? According to the McAfee study, 18% of poll respondents admit to meeting someone in real life who they first met online. Thankfully, only a small number of internet strangers are actually predators, but they do exist. The number one online fear according to respondents is cyberbullying, and many parents have no way of knowing whether their kids are victims or bullies.
Regarding #3 in the tips from McAfee above, as a parent you may not have the time or resources to be everywhere online that your child is. With ThirdParent, we aim to solve that challenge by offering a quick and easy guide for you as a parent detailing where your child is active online, and what the risks are. You can contact us today.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.