How Are Parents Monitoring Teens Social, Mobile Habits?

Jim Liebelt

*The following is excerpted from an online article from Social Times.

How do parents monitor their teens’ usage of social media and other mobile technology? Pew Research Center surveyed parents with teens aged 13 through 17 to find out.

Social media-related findings from the new study include:

  • 60 percent of parents have examined their teens’ social media profiles.
  • 56 percent have friended or followed their teens, with 44 percent saying they were Facebook friends, 9 percent following them on Twitter and 17 percent doing so on other social networks.
  • 35 percent know the passwords to at least one of their teens’ social media accounts.
  • 94 percent have spoken with their teens about what is appropriate to share online, with 40 percent saying they do so frequently.

Other findings revealed by Pew included:

  • 61 percent have checked to see which websites their teens have visited.
  • 48 percent have examined call records or text messages on their teens’ mobile phones.
  • 48 percent know their teens’ email passwords, while 43 percent know the passwords to their cellphones.
  • 39 percent use parental controls to block, filter or monitor their teens’ online activities.
  • 16 percent use parental controls to restrict their teens’ cellphone use.
  • 65 percent have “digitally grounded” their teens by taking away their cellphones or Internet access.
  • 55 percent say they limit the amount of time their teens can spend online each day.
  • 95 percent have spoken with their teens about appropriate media for them, such as television, music, books and magazines, with 36 percent doing so frequently.
  • 95 percent have discussed appropriate content to be viewed online, with 39 percent doing so frequently.
  • 92 percent have discussed online behavior toward others, with 36 percent doing so frequently.

Pew Research Center associate director of research Aaron Smith said in a release introducing the study: "As with many other aspects of child rearing, today’s parents take a wide range of approaches to managing and monitoring their teen’s online behavior. Nearly all parents talk with their teenage children about appropriate and inappropriate behavior online. But beyond those discussions, some parents allow their children to operate relatively independently and with minimal oversight, while others take a much more active role in keeping tabs on their child’s day-to-day online life."

Research analyst Monica Anderson, lead author of the report, added: "Teens use digital media to navigate all aspects of their day-to-day lives–from participating in schoolwork to interacting with their friends or engaging with potential romantic partners. Accordingly, taking away cellphone or Internet privileges can be one of the most potent discipline tools available to today’s parents."

Source: SocialTimes