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How to see what your teenager is doing online


When parents say that they know what their teens are doing online, are they kidding themselves?

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According to a survey by Common Sense Media and SurveyMonkeyparents can track, follow, and check in with their teens -- and still be out of touch with reality. The disconnect may come from the time-honored tension between parents' impulse to protect their kids and teens' desire for independence.

When parents hear horror stories about what kids put on Snapchat and other social media platforms, they double down on their efforts to be more involved. But to teens, this feels intrusive, and they find ways to tiptoe around the issues or appease their parents.

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Parents are tracking their teens more than teens know: Teens are more on the level than their parents give them credit for: Parents are most nervous about Snapchat: Snapchat is the app parents are most concerned about 29 percentmuch more than Facebook 16 percent. Only 6 percent of parents are nervous about Instagram. Some parents aren't nervous at all about the apps their teens use; Twenty percent say that "no apps and websites are concerning.

Older parents are less aware of what their teens are doing online: Younger parents are more likely to say that they are more aware of what their teens are doing online.

Nearly two-thirds 65 percent of parents age 18 to 34 say they are "extremely" or "very aware" of what their teens are doing online; under half of parents 55 and older say the same.

Facebook and Twitter aren't cool: More than three-quarters of teens use Instagram and Snapchat, but judt half use Facebook and fewer use Twitter.

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Parents follow their kids on Facebook, but not much on other platforms: A large majority of teens who use Facebook are friends with their parents on the platform. Fewer of those who use Instagram, Snapchat, "How to see what your teenager is doing online" Twitter follow or are friends with their parents on those platforms.

Given that kids will almost certainly be doing things online that their parents won't know about, it's important to talk early and often about being safe online. Just because a teen behaves one way on Facebook does not mean they behave the same way on Intagram or Snapchat, platforms where parents are less likely to be.

There are also partial technical solutions to keeping kids safe, like setting up parental controls and checking device privacy settingsbut they're not foolproof. If you want to get a better grasp on what your kids are doing, just ask! Have your teen take you on a tour of their platforms so they can show you their privacy settings and give you examples of how social media makes them feel.

Even surly teens may be happy to assume the role of an expert and do what they can to ease your fears.

And if it doesn't, it's at least an opportunity to open a conversation about what can be done better. Respondents for this survey were selected from the nearly 3 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. The modeled error estimate for this survey is plus or minus 2 percentage points for all adults, 2. For Your Family Log in Sign me up. Is it ok for kids to read books outside their reading levels?

Column 4 Our impact report: How Tech is Changing Childhood. Parenting, Media, and Everything In Between. Get the latest in kids' media, tech, and news right to your inbox Each week we send a customized newsletter to our parent and teen subscribers. Parents can customize their settings to receive recommendations and parent tips based on their kids' ages. Teens receive a version just for them with the latest reviews and top picks for movies, video How to see what your teenager is doing online, apps, music, books, and more.

I'm not in the U. Explaining the News to Our Kids.

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