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Sorry Parents, Your Teens Like Porn A Lot More Than You Think

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Sorry Parents, Your Teens Like Porn A Lot More Than You Think
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In little-to-no-chance-of-shocking-you news, parents are fairly oblivious when it comes to what their kids are doing online.

McAfee just released the results of their annual Teen Internet Behavior study, and the takeaway is that parents severely underestimate what their kids are up to online and how much time they’re spending online. Not only that, but teenagers are getting much better at hiding it.

According to a nationwide survey of 2000+ teens (age 13-17) and their parents, 73.5% of parents say they trust their teens to not access “age-inappropriate” content online. Despite that vote of confidence, McAfee reports that 43% of teens are accessing simulated violence, 36% are looking up sexual topics, and a third are checking out porn (43% of them on a weekly basis).

And when it comes porn, most parents have adopted the “not my little angel” mindset as only 12% acknowledge that their teen is probably looking at the stuff.

Teens are also getting better at fooling their parents. This year, 70% admitted to finding new ways to “avoid parental monitoring,” compared to only 45% two years ago. The top way reported was clearing the browser history (53%), followed closely by quickly minimizing the window when parents walk in (46%), and hiding/deleting videos and IM conversations (34%). One fifth of teens reported editing privacy settings and using private browser modes.

Teens porn parents

“While it is not necessarily surprising that teens are engaging in the same types of rebellious behaviors online that they exhibit offline, it is surprising how disconnected their parents are,” says Stanley Holditch, Online Safety Expert for McAfee. “There is a major increase in the number of teens finding ways to hide what they do online from their parents, as compared to the 2010 study. This is a generation that is so comfortable with technology that they are surpassing their parents in understanding and getting away with behaviors that are putting their safety at risk.”

Whether or not porn, excessive Facebooking, and a slew of other online activities teens engage in is actually a risk to safety is debatable, but this figure is not: 62.1% of teens say they witnessed cyberbullying, with 23.3% saying they have been the target. Only 10% of parents think their teen has been the target of cyberbullying.

Out of those witnesses to cyberbullying, 93% said that Facebook was where it took place.

Here are a couple of other findings from the study:

  • Teens spend more time online than their parents think. On average, teens spend about five hours a day online; while parents only think their kids spend an average of three hours a day online. Nearly 10% of teens (10.3%) spend more than 10 hours a day online
  • Parents are blind to how much teens check social networks. Teens are glued to their news feeds with 60% of social network users checking their accounts daily and 41% checking their accounts constantly. Only 48% of parents think their teens check their accounts daily, and only 22% believe their teens check their accounts constantly.
  • Despite the rise of smartphones Generation Z goes online old school. Generation Z spends more time online via laptops (37.35%) and desktops (29.8%) compared to smartphones (13.48%) and tablets (5%).
  • Teens don’t think online friends are dangerous strangers. 12% of teens reported meeting someone offline that they only knew through online interactions.
  • Foursquare and check-in sites dwindling. Facebook was the most popular site with 89.5% of teens using it, followed by Twitter (48.7%), Google+ (41.5%), Tumblr (33%), Pintrest (20%), 4chan (23%), and MySpace (18%). Foursquare and location-based sites were the least popular among teens (12.2%).

Kids have been hiding what they do online since the days of AOL at 56Ks. Either they are just becoming more internet savvy, or parents are becoming more oblivious. Maybe it’s a little bit of both.

Sorry Parents, Your Teens Like Porn A Lot More Than You Think
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  • Charles Sims

    I’m finding it hard to believe only 32% of teens watch porn. I do not know any guy my age at school who has not been watching porn since they were around 13. Do we know the percentage for each gender?