Research Shows Parents Need a Pat On the Back But There Is Still Work To Be Done

Sometimes as parents we need a little pat on the back and confirmation we’re doing something right. Well, the McAfee Tween, Tweens & Technology 2015 research does just that.

Now in its third year, the Teens, Tweens & Technology research provides a gauge on the behaviour and opinions of young Australians and their online lives. This year, the research was extended to include parental options as well as our Aussie youth and tweens’ thoughts and aspirations for future digital higher education and potential employment avenues.

So, first the good news from the 2015 study: the research shows parents are embracing the importance of their role in cyber-educating their offspring.

  • 87% of children said they had discussed cyber issues with their parents, an increase from 76% in 2014
  • These conversations have led to a noticeable increase in parental trust with fewer parents (75%) now looking to monitor their child’s device (91% in 2014)
  • A very impressive 66% of parents are now ‘friends’ with their children online

Well done parents! These great achievements show that as parents, we are on the right course. The conversations that we are having with our kids about their digital lives are paying dividends.

When it comes to cyberbullying, the 2015 results also show some encouraging improvement over previous years. 53% of teens and tweens said they had witnessed cyberbullying (81% in 2014) with 16% saying they had experienced it personally (39% in 2014).

But before you crack open the champagne bottle, the 2015 research did also show that there is still work to be done. But really – when does a parent stop being a parent? Never! Here are the areas we need to focus our attention:

  • Time On Devices – 41% of our teens and tweens are spending more than 2 hours per day in front of a mobile device
  • ‘Under Age’ Social Media Usage – 36% of boys and 64% of girls under the age of 13 are active on social media. The minimum age is 13 for Facebook, Twitter & Instagram
  • Secret Online Lives – 38% of teens and tweens admit to hiding online activity from friends, classmates, parents and teachers – up from 13% in 2014
  • Sharing Personal Information Online – Children are continuing to post personal content on social media with 39% having posted the name of their school
  • Stranger Danger – 11% of teens and tweens said they would meet up with a stranger they had first met online
  • Cyberbullying – yes, the statistics have improved but when is any cyberbullying acceptable?

So whilst there is good news, there is still clearly work to be done. I believe it is essential that parents remain vigilant and invested in their children’s online lives. An open and truly communicative relationship between child and parents is the absolute number one best way of helping your kids stay safe online.

The 2015 survey also provided some very exciting insights into the cyber aspirations of our Aussie youth, but more about that very soon.

‘Till next time, keep talking to your kids. Don’t stop!

Alex xx

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