Pew Internet Research: The State of Digital Parenting Part II

In Part I of this series, we talked about Pew Internet’s latest research on the state of digital parenting. In that post we focused on the gap between what parents are doing about monitoring teen internet activity and what may actually be happening. In short, we think in some families, a lot may be slipping between the cracks.

Let’s focus now on what parents of 13 – 17 year old internet and social media users admit that they parent-teen-laptoparen’t doing. The percentage of parents who rarely or never talk about:

  • What is appropriate to be shared online – 19%
  • Age-appropriate internet content – 20%
  • Age-appropriate traditional media (books, magazines, TV and movies) – 20%
  • Online behavior towards others – 22%

By contrast, only 11% of parents rarely or never discuss how to behave at school or at home. Consider a couple of factors:

  • What your teen says or does can have a much wider reach online than in the real world. The average teen Facebook or Instagram user has hundreds of online friends, who in turn have hundreds of connections. Cyberbullying and other inappropriate content can spread like wildfire.
  • Online communications and posts can be anonymous. Yik Yak,, Whisper, Reddit, 4chan…there are numerous social platforms with million of users where your real name is either not used or is strictly optional.

On the age-appropriate content front, we’d argue that since all kinds of inappropriate content is widely available online, for free, it’s more important to warn about setting limits online than offline. For the most part, you know your teen’s physical location. It is almost impossible to know where he is online, at all times.

In summary, if your teen is online a lot (she is), you should be talking about appropriate online behavior and content a lot.





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