|[April 17, 2012]
Today's Teens Aren't the Only Ones Sneaking Around
AMSTERDAM --(Business Wire)--
For generations, parents have been suspicious of teens' social
activities - and have employed any number of tactics to uncover the
truth. Today's parents are no exception; they simply have more channels
to monitor. The fifth Digital
Diaries installment conducted by AVG
Technologies, a leading provider of Internet and mobile security,
revealed that 60 percent of American parents surveyed admit to accessing
teens' Facebook (News - Alert) accounts without their knowledge, with moms most likely
to be the guilty party.
AVG's global, multi-year, Digital Diaries research project has
aimed to determine how the Internet is impacting children as they play,
learn, and grow up in today's digital world. Entitled Digital Coming
of Age, the latest phase of the study surveyed 4,400 parents with
14-17 year olds in 11 countries.
To begin, findings show that 75 percent of American parents stay
connected to their children on social networks, which is significantly
more than parents in other countries. Across the globe, it's less common
for parents to be "friends" with their teens on Facebook to be able to
monitor the activity teens permit them to see through their privacy
settings. In fact, this number is as low as 10 percent in Japan and 33
percent in France.
"I'm convinced that parents need to communicate more with their teens
about the digital coming of age. Even though most teens have intuitive
online abilities, parents need to be setting limits, rules, and staying
aware of what's going on," said Rona Renner, RN, temperament
specialist/parent educator and founder of Childhood
Matters. "Safely navigating new technologies in the digital age is
quickly becoming an important task in adolescent development.
Successfully accomplishing this takes families working together to build
a sense of safety, trust, and respect. AVG's Digital Diaries research
and products help parents of teens as they find the right balance
between hands on and hands off parenting."
Digital Coming of Age further reveals American parents are
keeping tabs on their teens' online activity. A majority of moms and
dads actually give their children credit for doing the right thing and
have minimal concerns about illegal, inappropriate and career-damaging
behaviors, however they continue to monitor their teens in today's
connected age. The study revealed:
Twenty percent suspect their children are accessing pornography
or illegal music downloads; and 5 percent suspect their
children of gambling.
Twenty percent of American parents also suspect their teens of
"sexting" via their mobile phones.
Almost half of parents in the U.S. believe their teens conduct
relationships with friends and family via their mobile phones, yet
only 9 percent think these relationships are sexual.
An overwhelming 80 percent of parents believe their teens have
never met someone in persn that they first met online.
"Is it spying or is it good parenting when parents closely monitor
teens' online activity?" asks Tony Anscombe, senior evangelist for AVG
Technologies. "Parenting teens that have grown up alongside the Internet
and with mobile phones in hand requires an entirely new set of rules and
tactics. Our research reveals that while parents trust their teens to do
the right thing, such as avoiding pornography on the Internet and
"sexting," they are still concerned about their children's safety and
how teens' online behavior may affect their future careers."
Forty percent of American parents worry the content their children post
to Facebook and other social networks will affect their children's job
prospects down the road. Adding to this stress, less than 50 percent of
American parents feel their child's school is doing a good job preparing
their students for the online world. They aren't alone in their
concerns. Digital Coming of Age found that nearly half of all
parents around the globe felt that schools were not effective in
teaching their teens to responsibly use the Internet.
"In a very short period of time we have seen amazing changes in the ways
we communicate and gather information because of digital
technologies. Cell phones, video games and the Internet blur boundaries
and change rules. This of course affects families and especially
families with teens between the ages of 14-17 who are coming of age with
these digital tools," said Jason Brand, licensed
clinical social worker who focuses on the impact of technology on
the social and emotional development of kids. "It's important for
parents with older teens to have access to research and practical advice
to help them adequately address their concerns. With good information
about this rapidly changing area in teens' lives; parents can know what
to expect, understand what's normal and identify possible red flags."
"Our latest research will hopefully facilitate conversations with
parents, educators and others around the most effective strategies to
monitor youth activity and teach them how to express themselves safely
and thoughtfully online," Anscombe continued. "We're all learning as we
go. We can't parent today like we were raised, because the Internet
simply wasn't available or as accessible when we were young."
Other key findings from Digital Coming of Age include:
UK parents are most likely to suspect teens of 'sexting' - nearly
25 percent of UK parents suspect their kids of sexting, compared with
US (21%), Australia (22%), Spain (21%), Canada (20%), New Zealand
(17%), Japan (15%), Italy (11%), France (10%), Czech Republic (13%)
and Germany (9%).
Spanish parents are (45%) most suspicious their teens are illegally
downloading music - compared with parents in the US (19%), Czech
Republic (35%), France (30%), UK (28%), Australia and New Zealand
Just under half of parents surveyed are concerned their teens
mobile photos are geo-tagged.
Twenty percent of UK and US parents suspect their teens of
accessing pornography on their PC - in comparison to over a
quarter of Spanish parents.
Twenty percent of UK and US parents have seen explicit or abusive
messages on their children's social networks - compared with over
25 percent of Australian and New Zealand parents.
About AVG "Digital Diaries" Campaign
The first stage of AVG's Digital Diaries campaign, "Digital Birth,"
focused on children from birth to age 2. The study, released in October
2010, found that on average infants acquire a digital identity by the
age of 6-months-old. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of children have had
their pre-birth scans uploaded to the Internet by their parent - having
a digital footprint even before birth. The second stage, "Digital
Skills," was released in January 2011 to show that for 2- to 5-year-olds
'tech' skills are increasingly replacing 'life' skills. In fact, many
toddlers could use a mouse and play a computer game, but could not ride
a bike, swim or tie their shoelaces. "Digital Playground," released in
June 2011, found nearly half of 6- to 9-year-olds talk to friends online
and use social networks. This was followed with Digital Maturity in
November 2011, which revealed how 11 year olds had adult skills in
Research for all stages of the Digital Diaries series was conducted by
Research Now on behalf of AVG Technologies.
For more information visit: www.avgdigitaldiaries.com
AVG's mission is to simplify, optimize and secure the Internet
experience, providing peace of mind to a connected world. AVG's powerful
yet easy-to-use software and online services put users in control of
their Internet experience. By choosing AVG's software and services,
users become part of a trusted global community that benefits from
inherent network effects, mutual protection and support. AVG has grown
its user base to approximately 108 million active users as of December
31, 2011 and offers a product portfolio that targets the consumer and
small business markets and includes Internet security, PC performance
optimization, online backup, mobile security, identity protection and
family safety software.
Keep in touch with AVG
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