Parents, your kids are hiding what they are doing in cyberspace and you need to get smarter. Teens do need a certain degree of privacy, but the privilege of privacy should take a back seat to any issue involving safety. How can you keep them safe if you are in the dark about what they are doing? Knowing about potential risks and how to deal with them can help you manage negative situations before they get out of control or become too dangerous.
McAfee released a study, The Digital Divide: How the Online Behavior of Teens is Getting Past Parents which clearly suggests a difference between what parents think their teens are doing and what they are actually doing.
One of the most compelling statistics found was that while 69% of kids report hiding their online behavior from their parents, 46% of preteens and teens said that they would change their online behavior if they knew a parent was watching them.
72% of parents said they don’t have time to keep up with what their child is doing online and only 20% know how to find out what they are up to in cyberspace, 42% of kids say their parents just don’t care what they are doing online.
As engaged, caring and smart parents, of course you care what your child is doing online but keeping up with the latest social media apps and checking in on your child’s online activity can feel absolutely overwhelming. Figuring out how to balance your child’s need for privacy with appropriate parental oversight is often mind-boggling and paralyzing, but it doesn’t have to be.
What do parents know about their teens drug and alcohol use?
Despite the fact that adolescent drug and alcohol use remains high, research has found that most parents are not concerned, underestimate the risks, and are uneducated about the warning signs of drug use.
According to a study conducted at Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, 6 out of 10 parents said that they are not concerned about their teens substance use, 8 in 10 thought they had adequate knowledge about drugs and alcohol, and on average, the parents surveyed could only name 2 of the 38 commonly known warning signs of drug use.
Cultural shame around addiction and feeling a sense of parental failure could likely be two of the reasons parents often put their heads in the sand around their child’s drug and alcohol use.
Parents need to be smarter, more informed and more protective when it comes to the dangers that exist online, as well as those inherent in the world of substance use.
You certainly don’t need to monitor every single thing your teen does online or socially, but you do have a responsibility to do whatever it takes to keep them safe.
If nearly half of teens surveyed said they would behave better if their parents were watching, shouldn’t we be doing just that? Watching with enough parental oversight until they consistently demonstrate the ability to make safe decisions seems like logical and appropriate parenting.
Social Judo is the smartest, easiest and most comprehensive parenting tool that will help to ensure that your child is engaging in appropriate and safe behavior.
As parents become more informed about the dangers this generation of teens face, they are choosing to parent in a much more active way. It will be interesting to see what future statistics reveal about the rates of cyberbullying, online predator attacks, drug use, and sexting. Our bet is that smart parents will continue to reduce the risks thereby changing the landscape and frequency of these very concerning issues.
Be smarter, your kids need it and they deserve it. After all, almost half of them surveyed said they would rise to the occasion and behave better if you were watching.