The dawning digital age has forced parents to reconsider how they monitor their children’s online activity, and adopt new measures designed to both police and encourage young minds to embrace new technology.
Teenagers use the Internet daily and access it from a myriad of devices, whether to perform school assignments or stay in touch with friends. But this has brought growing concern about cybersecurity and cyber bullying, among other online hazards.
A recent Pew Research Center survey found that parents are taking a much more active role in supervising the online activities of teens age 13 to 17. The research center found that 61% of parents regularly check the websites visited by their children, with 60% saying they also check their teen’s social media profiles.
A smaller number of parents, 48%, checked their child’s phone calls and text messages.
Pew researchers found that 65% of parents reported having taken away cell phone or Internet privileges as a disciplinary measure; 55% of respondents said they routinely limit or restrict the amount of time or set specific times when their teen can be online.
Nearly half of the parents polled said they know the password to their child’s email account, while 43% said they know the password to their teen’s cell phone. Additionally, 35% reported knowing a password to at least one social media account used by their child.
More than 90% of parents said they had spoken to their teenager about the type of content that is appropriate to view or share, as well as counseled them on how to properly interact with other online users.
However, just 39% of moms and dads said they use online security measures designed to enforce parental controls, and restrict certain websites and content viewable by their child.
As technology has continued to evolve, so has the way people use it, which has created an extra wrinkle to the task of staying informed about what teenagers consume online.
For example, a separate Pew Research Center survey found that 1 in 3 smartphone owners use their phone to watch digital content through a paid subscription, more than double the number reported in 2012.
Similarly, phone users now are more likely to use their device for directions, listening to music and shopping online.
The majority of individuals using their phones for these types of services belong to the 18 to 29 age group, according to the research center.