McAfee Study Reveals the Digital Disconnect between Today’s Youth and Parents
72 Percent of Parents are Overwhelmed by Technology and Just Hope for the Best
SANTA CLARA, Calif., – June 4, 2013 – McAfee today released findings from the company’s 2013 Digital Deception: Exploring the Online Disconnect between Parents and Kids study. The study examines the online habits and interests of preteens, teens, and young adults and finds there is a significant disconnect between what they do online and what their parents believe they do. While youth understand that the Internet is dangerous, they still engage in risky behavior, hiding this activity from their parents in a variety of ways and acknowledging that they (46%) would change their behavior if they knew their parents were paying attention.
“It’s still the Wild West out there and because they are digital natives, our youth are engaging in all kinds of unsafe behavior without the benefit of understanding how their actions will affect their lives,” said Michelle Dennedy, vice president and chief privacy officer at McAfee. “This study has made it exceedingly clear that parents need to get involved, to understand what their children are doing online, and to engage them in a myriad of ways that will keep them living safe online. Children of all ages are shouting out for guidance.”
PARENTS GIVE UP
Youth are not the only ones that need to be educated regarding safe behavior online. In fact, 62% of parents do not think that their children can get into deep trouble online and 80% of parents do not even know how to find out what their children are doing online. The majority of parents (74%) simply admit defeat and claim that they do not have the time or energy to keep up with their children and hope for the best.
While 39% of parents try to monitor their children’s online behavior with parental controls, tech savvy teens take advantage of their parents’ limited tech acumen and bypass the surveillance. Of the 41% of tweens that have passwords set for mobile apps by their parents, 92% of them know the passwords. More than half (60%) of tweens’ parents think they do not know the passwords. This can lead to behavior on a mobile phone that cannot be as easily monitored and can lead to unwanted engagements, as well as costly bills, when it goes unchecked.
Also of concern is the digital disconnect that exists when it comes to communicating about Internet safety. Seventy-one percent of parents believe they have had conversations with their children about proper online behavior, while only 44% of youth agree—implicating that there is a need for more straightforward conversations with teens about living safe online in a way that will more clearly resonate and affect their behavior.
Among the findings in a category new to this annual survey were risky behaviors in tweens, ages 10-12. While not technically permitted to have a Facebook profile, they admit to using Facebook in significant numbers (85%). The study also found that 58% of these preteens believe that they know how to hide what they do from their parents online. Nearly a quarter of preteens clear their browser history or use private browser settings to hide their activity from parents.
Other key findings include:
In addition to putting themselves in risky situations, teens find that much of their online behavior leads to negative personal experiences that are often immediate. Nearly one third (29%) of 13-23 year olds have had a negative experience when sharing revealing photos. Over a quarter (27%) of young adults 18-23 post photos while intoxicated, which can also sabotage future career opportunities.
“While it is not necessarily surprising that teens are rebelling online and hiding activity from their parents, what is concerning is the kinds of behaviors they are engaging in and that it extends to tweens,” said Dennedy. “There is no sense of permanence and global reach with online sharing and posting among these age groups, so the onus really is upon the parents to accelerate their digital savvy and be actively engaged on educating their kids about how to live safely online.”
To learn more, please check out:
Report - http://www.mcafee.com/us/resources/reports/rp-digital-deception-survey.pdf
Study Webpage – www.mcafee.com/digital-deceptions
Blog Post by Robert Siciliano – https://blogs.mcafee.com/consumer/digital-divide
Blog Post by Lianne Caetano – https://blogs.mcafee.com/mobile/what-is-your-teen-doing-online-new-mcafee-study-reveals-all/
Infographic - http://images.mcafee.com/infographic/digitaldeception.html
Follow on Twitter @McAfeeConsumer
TRU conducted a total of 2,474 online interviews in the U.S. among youth ages 10-23 and parents of youth ages 10-23. These interviews were split evenly among 1,173 youth and 1,301 parents. The parent/youth samples yield a margin of error of +/-2.7 and +/-2.9 percentage points, respectively. The total sample of 2,474 yields a margin of error of +/-2.0 percentage points. The interviews were conducted from April 3rd through April 15th, 2013.
All youth and parents were required to use (or say their child uses) the Internet at least one hour in a normal day. Interviews among youth were split evenly by age and gender. Interviews among parents were split fairly evenly by gender, as well as by age and gender of their child. The sample was comprised of 16% Hispanic and 18% African American respondents and achieved geographic distribution according to the US census.
McAfee, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), empowers businesses, the public sector, and home users to safely experience the benefits of the Internet. The company delivers proactive and proven security solutions and services for systems, networks, and mobile devices around the world. With its Security Connected strategy, innovative approach to hardware-enhanced security, and unique Global Threat Intelligence network, McAfee is relentlessly focused on keeping its customers safe. http://www.mcafee.com
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