Tech-Savvy Kids Solutions.
by Leslie Morgan Steiner
How many Facebook “friends” does your child have? Has your kid ever posted a YouTube video? Texted a naked picture of themselves to friends’ phones? How much do we really know about our kids and technology today?
A recent survey of over 1,000 teenagers and 1,000 parents by nonprofit Common Sense Media revealed a vast disconnect between parents and teens when it comes to Internet usage. Parents think kids start using the Internet unsupervised at far older ages than reality, with nearly 50% of parents reporting their child was 13 or older before starting to use the Internet by themselves – vs over 80% of teenagers who say they took to the Internet before they became teens, according to What Parents Don’t Know About How Their Kids Use Facebook, My Space.
Parents also dramatically underestimate how frequently their children log onto social networking sites. Only 23% of parents report their children check Facebook or similar sites more than once a day, and a mere 4% thought their kids used the sites more than 10 times a day. Over 50% of teenagers, on the other hand, said they check in more than once a day, with 22% reporting going to the sites more than 10 times daily.
Somewhat comfortingly, kids are as clueless as parents. Eighty-two percent of parents check their children’s social media profiles regularly – but barely 25% of kids thought they were being monitored at all. Over 50% of parents know their kids’ Facebook or MySpace passwords, vs. the 14% of teenagers who report parental password knowledge.
It’s a classic teen vs. parent chasm -- despite the fancy technological details, this is a battle parents and teenagers have been duking out for generations. Kids think their parents are in the dark about their daily activities, fantasies and dreams. Parents try to guide their children into the scary world of adult independence, while juggling a fine line between letting go, giving up or sticking our heads in the sand.