Survey finds a ‘digital disconnect’ between teens and parents yet teens do care about privacy and security

By Larry Magid

A study by the National Cyber Security Alliance and Microsoft “reveals a ‘digital disconnect’ between parents and teens regarding teens’ online behaviors, experiences and resolving online issues.”

One finding that might surprise some is that privacy and security were among the top concerns of teens. Nearly half (47%) said they are “very concerned” about someone accessing their accounts without their permission. Forty three percent said the same about someone sharing personal information about them online. On some issues, such as ‘worries that a private photo or video might Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 5.17.07 PMbe posted or accounts might be accessed without permission,” teens were actually more concern than were their parents.

The conclusions are based on a survey of 804 teens between 13 and 17 and a separate survey of 810 parents.

Some of the key findings include:

  • 60 percent of online teens ages 13 to 17 say they have created accounts their parents do not know about
  • 39 percent say someone has been mean or cruel to them when they were online or using apps over the past year.
  • Only 13% of teens say their parents are “completely aware” of the full extent of their online activities.
  • 25% of teens say that they witness mean or cruel behavior “frequently” when they are online or using apps, while one in three (34%) say they witness it “sometimes.”
  • 27%) say they are “very concerned” that they might be directed to online content about extreme political or religious activities that will make them feel uncomfortable. Another 19 percent say they are “somewhat concerned”
  • Parents say that they would overwhelmingly want their teens to turn to them first when they face problems online, while 40 percent of teens say they would turn to their friends first.
  • Teens largely go online with their smartphones
  • Snapchat (66%) and Instagram (65%) are more popular among teens than Facebook (61%)

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