Technically Incorrect: A Microsoft-sponsored survey suggests teens think their parents have little awareness of their online activity. And less than a third of parents suspect their kids have secret online lives.

Do parents really want to know what their kids are doing online?

Or would they prefer to turn a blind eye and focus on their own Facebook feed?

I ask only because a new survey says kids think parents have little clue what their tykes are up to on the internet.

Oh, and many parents admit they really don’t have a clue.

The survey, performed by the National Cyber Security Alliance and co-sponsored by Microsoft, describes what it calls a “digital disconnect” between parents and teens.

Of the 804 teens surveyed (aged between 13 and 17), 60 percent said they have online accounts their parents know nothing about.

The wise and wizened will surely ask, “How can they be sure?” Parents, after all, can be wily.

Still, a mere 13 percent of these teens insisted their parents are “fully aware” of their online activities.

What about the parents? Well, of the 810 parents surveyed, 27 percent said they suspected their teens had some sort of secret online accounts. Secret from the parents, that is.

This, though, suggests that 73 percent of parents may have been partially or completely hoodwinked into believing that their kids tell them everything. It’s as if they’ve never met teenagers before.

Specifically, a stunning 53 percent of parents said they were absolutely sure their kids hadn’t gone behind their backs and the remaining 20 percent admitted that it might have happened.

The more you examine the study, the more it appears that kids rely on each other for support when it comes to online strife. For issues that arise online, 43 percent said friends were the first port of call.

The whole survey is worth absorbing for all that it might reveal about differing generations, one that grew up before the whole world functioned online and one that grew up with the online world representing, well, the world.

One finding, though, stays with me the most: 67 percent of parents said they have a rule that kids must tell them about any sort of uncomfortable or scary incidents that occur online, but only 32 percent of the teens said such a rule existed.

Most parents, 70 percent, did say their kids have “difficulty” following family tech rules, at least some of the time.

Ultimately, it’s surely healthy for parents not to know about everything their kids get up to. If they did, some parents would never survive it.

But when the digital world involves largely giving up your privacy for the sake of — what? — instant gratification, many parents may have chosen to accept that the world has changed and that there’s only so much they can protect their kids from.

I suspect, though, that kids may not look up to their parents for too much guidance.

After all, it’s not just the kids whose faces are buried in screens these days, is it?

VIA CNET: http://www.cnet.com/news/parents-have-little-clue-what-their-kids-are-doing-online-study-says/

 

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