Risky Behavior Online: The Conversation You Need To Have With Your Kids

Have you ever tried to speak with your kids about Internet dangers but felt like they did not GET the message?

Not only are tweens and teens posting revealing photos and videos, personal information, and even their social security numbers online, but they also believe they know how to hide all of this activity from their parents. Teens just don’t GET that there are consequences to these actions! It’s not ok to post your address / phone number on Twitter. In fact, it’s downright dangerous.

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According to McAfee’s 2013 Digital Deception: Exploring the Online Disconnect between Parents and Kids study:

Parental Disconnect:
The survey found a huge disconnect between what parents think their kids do online and the reality of the situation.

  • Tech Overload—72% of parents are overwhelmed by technology and just “hope for the best,” while 46% of youth say that they would actually change their online behavior if their parents were watching.
  • Trouble and Tech—62% of parents don’t think their children can get into trouble online and 80% don’t even know how to find out what their kids are doing online.
  • App Savvy Kids – 92% of tweens who have passwords set for mobile apps by their parents know the passwords, while 60% of their parents think that they don’t.
  • Communication is Key—71% of parents believe they’ve had conversations with their children about proper online behavior, while only 44% of youth agree.

Additional surprising findings from the study include:

  • Hide and Seek – 58% of tweens know how to hide what they do from their parents online. Nearly a quarter clear their browser history settings to hide activity from parents.
  • What Kids Really Do in Their Rooms – 25% of youth spend 5-6 hours a day online, when their parents believe it to be only 1-2 hours. 57% of 13-23 year olds are searching for sexual topics, but only 13% of their parents believe it.
  • Taking Chances – 86% of youth believe social sites are safe so they continue to post personal information such as email addresses (50%) and personal activities, such as who they date (31%). Only 17% of parents are aware that they post emails and only 12% are aware that they share information such as who they date.

Do You Know Where Your Kids Are?

  • o Facebook (86%). 85% of tweens 10-12 admitted to using Facebook, while technically, the minimum age is 13 years old.
  • o Twitter (59%).
  • o Instagram (46%).
  • o Pinterest (42%).
  • o Tumblr (38%).
  • o Snapchat (33%).

Where Are The Bullies?

Facebook is A Hub for Mean Behavior – 27% of 10-23 year olds have witnessed cyberbullying on social networks and mostly on Facebook (89%). 46% of the 18-23 year olds that comment on social media sites use foul language.

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Vera Sweeney, mom, blogger, social media influencer and New York resident, is the founder of She is considered one of the top female digital influencers in today’s social media space. Her lifestyle and parenting brand helps busy women stay on top of the latest trends in fashion, food, family and travel.