From time to time I do speeches to parents here in the community with regards to online safety for the kids and the teens. Being a parent as well, I have a natural interest in this theme, knowing that I probably have better insights in some of the challenges than most other parents.
Therefore I am always interested reading studies on this and I just found that one: The Secret Online Lives of Teens â€“ a very interesting survey by McAfee. For me, there are a few take-away:
- I tell the parents to engage with the kids and show interest in what the kids and teens do. Looking at the key findings, it seems to be the right approach: About a third (32%) say that they donâ€™t tell their parents what they are doing online, and would change their behavior if they knew their parents were watching (31%). Therefore engaging with the kids seems to pay off.
- This leads us to the next point: When it comes to social networking, 73% of 13- to 17-year-olds today say they have an account on a social networking site, compared to 59% in 2008. Even though I am not completely clear whether I like that or not but at least we â€“ as parents â€“ should be interested in what the teens do there. Looking at the information which is sometimes shared on these social networking sites, it is clear to me that we have to talk with them to understand what they do and help them around.
- Now the real scary stuff: One in four kids (25%) report that they wouldnâ€™t know what to do if they were bullied or harassed online â€“ what about talking to a trusted person? Maybe mom, dad, the teacher, an uncle etc. but it is really scary that they do not know that. However, what about the â€œreal lifeâ€? Do they know what to do there? This is â€“ to me â€“ exactly the same problem. We are trying to have a relationship trusted enough to get this information if it happens to our kids. Would they come? I hope but I cannot be sure. And then: Do the parents know what they should do if the kid comes with this information????
So, a lot of things to worry about but in my opinion, there is not too much difference between raising a kids in the real world and raising it online. The biggest difference is that the kids most likely know more about these technologies than the parents. To learn what you could/should do, there is a website you could look into: Online Safety and Privacy Education. In there you find everything about How to Protect Your Family, how to Protect Yourself and how to Protect Your Computer.