McAfee Studies What Teens Are Getting Away with Online

By: Chris Crum - June 22, 2010

McAfee has released the results of a study today, finding that nearly half of online teens have shared personal information with strangers. The study looked at this and other areas of concern for parents.

McAfee looks at what teens are up to online "Keeping kids safe no longer only means teaching them about the dangers of alcohol or how to deal with a school bully," says McAfee’s Tracy Mooney. "This report is a wake-up call to the real dangers our teens face when they make themselves vulnerable online. As a mom, it worries me that kids aren’t practicing safe ‘street smarts’ when they’re online."

"Kids know not to talk to strangers – it’s one of the first lessons you teach them. But online, there’s a sense of trust and anonymity, so kids let their guard down," says Mooney. "Kids would never hand out their name and address to a stranger in the real world, so it’s alarming to see how many kids do that very thing online."

The study of 955 US 13-17 year olds, conducted by Harris Interactive found:

– 69% of 13-17 year olds have updated their status on social networking sites to include their physical location
– 28% of teens chat with people they don’t know in the offline world
– 43% shared their first name
– 24% shared their email address
– 18% shared a personal photo of themselves
– 12% shared their cell phone number
– Girls are more likely than boys to chat with people online that they don’t know in the offline world, (32% vs. 24%)
– 14% of 13-17 year olds admit to having engaged in some form of cyberbullying behavior in 2010
– 22% say they wouldn’t know what to do if they were cyberbullied
– 87% of teens go online somewhere other than at home
– 54% access from their friends’ or relatives’ houses
– 30% of teens access the Web through a phone and 21% through a video game system
– 23% of kids go online anywhere with an open Wi-Fi signal
– 38% close or minimize the browser when their parents enter the room
– 32% clear the browser history when they are done using the computer
– 55% of 13-17 year olds hide what they do online from parents
– 27% accidentally allowed a virus, spyware, or other software to infect the family computer
– 46% admit to downloading music or videos from a free service
– 16% of 16-17 year old boys have downloaded x-rated content

The report in its entirety can be found here (pdf). Are you surprised with any of the stats listed? Share your thoughts.

Chris Crum

About the Author

Chris CrumChris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

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  • Guest

    First off, these stats are obviously flawed. Only 16% of boys from 16-17 have downloaded porn? Bullshit.

    First, this stupid study just feeds the fire that is over-concerned helicopter parenting. Everyone is more afraid than ever that it’s going to be THEIR kid that kids kidnapped, raped and killed. Despite the fact that crimes against children have been on a steady decline since 1993 (

    So please, people… take this crap with a grain of salt. The media, government and law enforcement people want to scare you. And let’s not forget people that sell software meant to protect your privacy and data.

    • Chris Crum

      I would say that almost all studies and surveys should be taken with a grain of salt, because a subset of people is never representative of the entire population. I agree though. The percentage of teenage boys downloading porn does seem a little lower than you’d expect.

  • J. Carter Shelton

    One has to wonder, just how far things will go, especially with all the recent cyber-bullying issues turning into headline tragedies.