A newly released study (The Online Generation Gap: Contrasting attitudes and behaviors of parents and teens) conducted by Hart Research Associates for the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) found a “generation gap” between what parents think they know about their kids online behavior and what the kids think their parents know.
Ninety-one percent of parents say they are “well informed about what their kids are doing online and on their cell phones,” but when you ask teens, only 62% say their parents are well informed (21%) or somewhat well informed (41%).
When it comes to Twitter, the study found 38% of parents say they are “well informed” about their teen’s use of the service, compared to 14% of teens who think their parents are well informed That a 24% gap. There’s an 18 point gap for Facebook and a 14% gap for Pinterest when it comes to how well informed parents think they are compared to what their kids think.
The study found that 84% of parents report that they monitor their teens’ usage very (31%) or fairly (53%) closely, compared to 39% of teens who say their parents monitor them very (11%) or somewhat (28%) closely, which represents a 45-percentage-point gap between parent and teen perceptions. There are some interesting differences based on age and whether kids live in a one or two parent household. Younger teens (13-15) are considerably more likely (45%) to say they’re very or somewhat closely monitored compared to 27% of 16-17 year-olds. Teens who live in households with two parents are more likely (41%) to say they’re monitored than those who live in single-parent households (31%).
Nintety-five percent of teens say they feel very (37%) or somewhat (58%) safe online, and on this parents agree. Ninety-four percent of parents say they feel their teen is very (36%) or somewhat (58%) safe online. Only 5% of teens and 6% of parents say they feel unsafe.
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About Jim Liebelt
Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on HomeWord.com. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
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