Teens on the Web: What Every Parent Should Know

Teens on the Web: What every Parent Should KnowAs internet users, we need to take an active role in protecting our privacy and safety, and to help our children do the same by teaching them about appropriate online behavior and how to be responsible digital citizens.

Always connected through various devices, 95% of teens are using the internet today which makes them an extremely digital-savvy generation (source: pewinternet.org).

But many parents are totally clueless!

According to a study, around 80% of parents said that they don’t even know how to find out what their kids are doing online (source: internet-safety.yoursphere.com).

This gap between parents and teens often creates a disconnect and a challenge in how they can participate in the online world together.

 

TEENS AND SOCIAL MEDIA

  • 16% of teen social media users have set up their profile to automatically include their location in posts.
  • 19% have posted updates, comments, photos, or videos that they later regretted sharing.
  • 26% say that they post false information like a fake name, age, or location to help protect their privacy.

(Source: pewinternet.org)

Pew Report: What Teens Posts on the Web

 

Privacy Risks Definition *This is my own interpretation and rating system

 HIGH Account is totally public.

MEDIUM Account includes Privacy settings but you have to turn them on.

LOW The default settings are Private.

GEO-LOCATION services will publish a user’s physical location. Make sure to have those turned off on all devices including mobile.

 

 

POPULAR SITES TEENS USE

Teens and Social Media

 

FACEBOOK

facebook

Facebook is a social networking website launched in February 2004 with over 1.11 billion monthly active users as of March 2013.

 STATS

  • The typical (median) teen Facebook user has 300 friends
  • 33% are Facebook friends with other people they have not met in person.
  • Some 60% of teens ages 12-17 who use Facebook say they have their profile set to private, so that only their friends can see it.
  • Another 25% have a partially private profile, set so that friends of their friends can see what they post.
  • And 14% of teens say that their profile is completely public.

Source: pewinternet.org

 

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT FACEBOOK

 THREAT FACTOR

  • Bullying
  • Privacy
  • Peer rejection
  • Oversharing
  • Self-Esteem issues
  • Facebook Depression*

*Facebook Depression

Researchers have proposed a new phenomenon called “Facebook depression,” defined as depression that develops when preteens and teens spend a great deal of time on social media sites, such as Facebook, and then begin to exhibit classic symptoms of depression.

 Acceptance by and contact with peers is an important element of adolescent life. The intensity of the online world is thought to be a factor that may trigger depression in some adolescents. As with offline depression, preadolescents and adolescents who suffer from Facebook depression are at risk for social isolation and sometimes turn to risky Internet sites and blogs for “help” that may promote substance abuse, unsafe sexual practices, or aggressive or self-destructive behaviors. Source: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/127/4/800.full

PRIVACY RISKS-MEDIUM

  • Privacy settings work differently for minors than for adults. Facebook has additional protections and security settings for teens age 13-17. While under 18, the maximum audience minors can share with is “friends of their friends”. So, if minors choose Public as an audience option, sharing is limited to their friends of friends until they turn 18.

In contrast, when adults choose Public, their audience selection includes everyone on the internet.

Keep in mind that certain information is always made public even for minors such as Facebook profile pictures, cover images, gender, username, user ID and your networks like school or workplace (if they choose to add them).

Facebook requires in their terms that each user use their real name when opening a Facebook account but many fake profiles have been created and used to fool other users.

  • Users can generally control how they share information and set their privacy
  • Geo-location option should be off at all times.

RESOURCES
Facebook Family Safety Center http://on.fb.me/186K1pJ
How privacy works on Facebook for minors http://on.fb.me/1aQnfSy
Parents Guide to Facebook 2012 http://bit.ly/186K5pr
How to Report Things http://on.fb.me/186K7gY

 

 TWITTER

Twitter Logo

Online social networking service that enables its users to send text-based messages of up to 140 characters. Created in 2006, Twitter has more than 500 million users (although many are not active).

 STATS

  • Teen Twitter use has grown significantly: 24% of online teens use Twitter, up from 16% in 2011.
  • The typical teen Twitter user has 79 followers.
  • 64% of teens with Twitter accounts say that their tweets are public, while 24% say their tweets are private.
  • 12% of teens with Twitter accounts say that they “don’t know” if their tweets are public or private.

Source:  pewinternet.org

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT TWITTER

 THREAT FACTOR

  • Bullying
  • Privacy
  • Oversharing
  • Self-Esteem issues

 PRIVACY RISKS-MEDIUM

  • Default setting is public
  • Can set account to protected Tweets which require manual approval of every person who view your account’s Tweets.
  • Geo-location option should be off at all times

 RESOURCES
Twitter And Your Child, A Parent’s Guide To Privacy And Safety http://bit.ly/17pu7Yh
Reporting an abusive user http://bit.ly/186KjNj

 

TUMBLR

Tumblr Logo

Blogging platform. Users can follow other users’ blogs, post their own content or “reblog” other people’s content. Tumblr has 300 million monthly unique visitors.

STATS

  •  Tumblr is the number one social media network for teens, with 61% of teenagers and 57% of young adults liking the blogging site. (Source: garrytan.com)
  • There are currently 116.9 blogs on Tumblr and 53.5 billion blog posts. Source: Tumblr.com

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT TUMBLR

THREAT FACTOR

  • Sexual and violent content exposure
  • Privacy
  • Oversharing

 PRIVACY RISKS-MEDIUM

  • Awkward privacy settings
  • Default is public and viewable by anyone on the Internet.
  • “ask box” feature (can be turned off)
  • Tumblr does not require identity authentication which means that anyone can create fake profiles.

RESOURCES
Tumblr – Why Kids Love It and What Parents Need To Know http://bit.ly/186KwQM
Tumblr saved me http://bit.ly/186KAzX
Report something try this email: abuse@tumblr.com

 

 ASK.FM

Ask.Fm Logo

Ask.FM is a Social Q&A website which was launched in 2010. Users invite questions from other members of the site. The responses can be received anonymously.

 

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ASK.FM

Out of all websites or social network, this is definitely one you should supervise very closely.

THREAT FACTOR

  • Bullying
  • Privacy
  • Peer rejection
  • Oversharing
  • Self-Esteem issues

 PRIVACY RISKS-HIGH

  • Anyone on Ask.fm, and on the Web can see your profile and content.
  • Replies are publicly viewable data.
  • Can choose to remove anonymous option.

RESOURCES 
What parents need to know about ask.fm http://bit.ly/197Otpr
Social Media Site Ask.fm Is Putting Teens At Risk http://bit.ly/197Pj5s
Contact Ask.fm http://bit.ly/186KUP1

 

YOUTUBE

Youtube Logo

Third most visited website in the world, Youtube allows you to post and view videos about virtually anything you can imagine.

STATS

  • 64% of teens listen to music through YouTube.
  • Source: nielsen.com
  • 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
  • Source: youtube.com
  • Video usage among teens increase with age.

Source: pewinternet.org

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOUTUBE

THREAT FACTOR

  • Bullying
  • Oversharing
  • Privacy
  • Inappropriate content exposure

PRIVACY RISKS-MEDIUM

  • Videos are public and searchable unless privacy settings are turned on.
  • Able to limit who can see the videos you post.

RESOURCES
Cyberbullying on YouTube: Six Things All Parents Should Know http://bit.ly/197Rq9z
Parent Resources on Youtube http://bit.ly/123obPD
Video Guide: How to Set Up YouTube Safety Mode http://bit.ly/197SrOG
Policy and Safety Hub http://bit.ly/123ogmo

 

MOBILE APPS

 78% of teens now have a cell phone, and almost half (47%) of those own smartphones.

One in four teens are “cell-mostly” internet users, who say they mostly go online using their phone and not using some other device such as a desktop or laptop computer. (Source: pewinternet.org)

 

INSTAGRAM

Instagram Logo

Free mobile app which allows to Snap photos and videos with your mobile phone and apply filters. You can also share your photos or videos on Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter. Owned by Facebook, Instagram has 100 million monthly active users.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT INSTAGRAM

THREAT FACTOR

  • Privacy
  • Oversharing
  • Bullying
  • Self-esteem issues

PRIVACY RISKS-MEDIUM

  • You can choose to make your account private. Only people who follow you will be able to see your photos.
  • Able to approve all follow requests when private
  • Geo-location service should be off at all times

RESOURCES 
Tips for Parents http://bit.ly/186LJHG
Report Something http://bit.ly/186LHPZ
ConnectSafely’s  Parents’ Guide to Instagram http://bit.ly/19yqQGQ
Instagram – Is It Okay for Kids? What Parents Need to Know http://bit.ly/186LOLE

 

 SNAPCHAT

snapchat logo

Snapchat is a free mobile app which allows users to capture pictures and videos and send them as messages to other users. The messages will self-destruct a few seconds after they’re viewed

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SNAPCHAT

 THREAT FACTOR

  • Oversharing
  • Privacy
  • Explicit content sharing
  • Sexting
  • Harassment

PRIVACY RISKS-MEDIUM

  • By default, anyone who knows your username or phone number can send you a message
  • Screenshots can be taken of shared content

RESOURCES
SNAPCHAT GUIDE FOR PARENTS bit.ly/186LXyq
Report Something: Send email to: safety@snapchat.com
ConnectSafely’s  Parents’ Guide to Snapchat bit.ly/186M0dO

 

WHAT PARENTS CAN DO:

  1. Ask questions and set limits (do it often, kids forget fast!)
  2. Keep up to date with Technology
  3. Follow your child on social media sites
  4. Google your child’s name under search and images
  5. Install Parental Control
  6. Be a good role model
  7. Use a Technology Agreement (example: http://bit.ly/123lgXo via Internet Safety Yoursphere.com).

 

REMEMBER

Teach your children and live by “The Grandma Rule”: Is what you’re posting something you’d want your grandmother, boss, future employer, parents, school officials or future in-laws to see? If not, it’s probably not a great idea to post it.
Image Source: Creative Commons License D. Sharon Pruitt via Compfight

Genevieve Lachance is a web marketing consultant who has a passion for social media and technology based in Montreal, Canada. Read More About Me »