Stop the presses and take a seat everyone: you’re going to want to be sitting down when you hear that your kids have probably lied to you -- yes you, the person reading this right now -- according to a new study from McAfee titled “Digital Deceptions,” based on a survey of 2,474 young people (ages 10-23) and parents conducted in April. Among other things, the deceitful little traitors are lying about engaging in potentially dangerous online activities which would alarm their parents. But it’s actually your fault, you see, because you’re all just so darn trusting.
Overall 88% of youth ages 10-23 say their parents trust them to do the right thing online, according to McAfee, but that trust may be a bit misplaced, as an almost equal proportion (86%) have done things their parents would disapprove of, including sharing an email address (50%), the name of their school (49%), phone number (32%), intimate or personal details like a social security number or who they’re dating (32%), or their home address (11%). Meanwhile 69% of parents expressed concern that this kind of sharing might be taking place, including just 17% who thought their children might be sharing an email address, 31% for the name of their school, 10% for their phone number, 12% for intimate or personal details, and 5% for their home address.
What’s more, 51% of the young people surveyed said they had posted “risky” comments online, and 24% had posted “risky” photos, while just 30% and 8% of parents, respectively, expressed awareness this might be happening. 27% of young people said they have witnessed cruel behavior online, but just 9% of parents were aware of this. And a large proportion (69%) of young people ages 10-23 said they take measures to hide their online behavior from their parents, but just 47% of parents were aware of this.
There’s also a basic perception gap in the simple matter of how much time kids spend online: on average teens estimate their daily usage at six hours per day, significantly more than the average parental estimate of four hours. Focusing in on social media, 87% of teens said they check their social media accounts daily, with 44% saying they check them “constantly” -- but just 79% and 32% of parents thought this was true of their children.
No surprise, parents expressed feelings of frustration and fatigue when asked about monitoring their kids’ online activities: 74% said they don’t have the time or energy to keep up with everything their kids are doing, and 72% said they are overwhelmed by modern technology and “just hope for the best” (a strategy notable for having failed every single time it has ever been employed).