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How Much Do Parents Know About What Their Kids Do Online?

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It shouldn’t be much of a surprise to learn that the majority of teenagers hide what they do online from their parents. That number is about 70 percent, according to a survey done by software firm McAfee.

The company surveyed both parents and teens, and most parents weren’t aware of what their kids are really up to, what they’re looking at and who they’re talking to.

Among the things the survey revealed were that:

  • 51 percent of teens admitted to hacking someone else’s social networking account;
  • 31 percent admitted to stealing music or movies online;
  • 32 percent admitted to accessing porn intentionally; and
  • 46 percent said they came across porn accidentally.

Cheating is also more widespread than parents believed. Forty-eight percent of teens say they’ve cheated on tests by looking up answers online.

Additionally, one in five teenagers say they’ve ended a friendship with someone because of something that happened online. And maybe it’s just the way it is these days, but it could be dangerous: Twelve percent of teens say they met someone face-to-face after meeting them online first.

The survey is part of the introduction of a new tool available to parents to monitor what their kids are doing online. It’s called McAfee Safe Eyes, and it allows parents to see their kids’ social media posts and instant message conversations and to block some websites.

Basically, it’s a spying tool, but McAfee encourages parents to open a dialog with their kids about what is and what isn’t appropriate. It’s a matter of trust, and parents need to be confident they can trust their kids, and kids need to know their parents aren’t violating their privacy. Maybe a tool like this can open the door to something positive.

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