The Online Generation Gap
Parents and teens — will they ever agree on anything? A new study entitled The Online Generation Gap by the Hart Research Associates takes a closer look at the contrasting behaviors and attitudes of parents and teens toward online safety. Fittingly, this report was released at the Family Online Safety Institute's Annual Conference last week.
Here are some key findings from the report:
- 91% of parents say they’re very or somewhat well informed about what their teens do online and on their cell phone. However, only 62% of teens say their parents are well informed about their online activities. Social networking and media sharing sites reveal the greatest gaps between teens’ online activities and parents’ knowledge of these activities.
- 93% of parents report discussing their expectations about time spent online and on mobile devices with their kids, but only 61% of teens say their parents have had this conversation with them.
- 43% of teens admit to posting something online that they later regretted. Research also shows that notable proportions of teens say they’ve done things online that would enable a stranger to learn personal information about them, even though they report steps they are taking to remain safe online.
Here’s some good news:
- When teens seek out information about how to stay safe online, 74% of them turn to their parents.
- Both teens and parents feel that teens generally are safe online. For teens, being safe online means their privacy is protected. For parents, safety involves privacy and avoiding “stranger danger” scenarios.
- Parents and teens have similar levels of concern about teens’ online postings creating future problems with teachers at school, applying to colleges, or getting a job.
So maybe parents and teens won’t ever agree on everything — but teens are relying on their parents and other adults for guidance on being safe online. Start to shrink the online generation gap and get on the same page. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a technology expert to talk to your teens about being online. Here are some tips to get the conversation started.