Talking with your teens about social media!

I am a self confessed geek, whether it be new technology or social media, I like to be up to speed with this, and to be honest the latter helps when it comes to the kids.

All kids want a mobile phone, tablet etc for continual access to the internet, but how many of you talk to your kids about how to use social media and what the impact of posting something on line can be?

Recent research from AVG, as part of their Digital Diaries research has highlighted some concerning facts!

  • 69% of UK Teenagers have admitted they do not know everyone on their social media network
  • By the age of 16, around a third of them have ended up regretting something they've posted online
  • More than 1 in 10 have had a secret or something they did not want others to know revealed about them online!

Now I know, from my own experience that I have had or do at least 2 of those, the first point regarding social media and not knowing everyone, part of me feels this is the whole idea of social networks and allows you to find people with mutual interests etc, but remember talking to your teens about how they are connecting with people and who is key (i.e. not sharing where you live, sharing appropriate pictures etc).

Those stats don't surprise me to much but what does is when it comes to securing their online activity:

  • a quarter admit to not understanding what online privacy is!
  • a further 1 in 4 have not done anything to change their privacy settings, with 41% confessing they either haven't thought about privacy or know where or how to find them.

This reinforces why as parents it is key to understand social network security settings, I have lost count how many times I have heard parents say "oh I am not on (insert social network name here), because its for youngsters / geeks / people with no life" when in reality their teens are probably using it and facing many of these problems!   If you are not familiar with these services how can you have an open and honest discussion with your teens?

But to be honest, this post is not about having a moan about teens, it is not just them that are over-sharing details of their lives, the AVG research says that:

  • 31% have asked friends or family to remove content (tweet, FB post, Instagram pic) about them citing;
    • A side question how many of you have done this and would remove if asked to?
  • they either dislike the post (70% said this) or its of a personal nature (17%)

The research actually states that parents are top of the list when it comes to people teens want to keep at arms length online (well its just not cool when your mum or dad likes your Instagram photo is it).

FInally if you need any confirmation that you need to talk to your kids about using social media, 43% of teens have confessed that they don't often discuss their online activity with their parents or guardians, if at all! 

There are a lot of useful stats coming out of the AVG research and more about the digital diaries series can be found here, but some more from this research:

  • One in five (21%) teens say their parents only see what they want them to see online
  •  81% of teens ensure their devices have passwords on them
  •  Yet, 69% of parents know some or all of their kids’ passwords (is this a bad thing?)
  • A third (33%) say a family member has looked at their device without permission – with 23% also saying that someone in their family had found something on their device they didn’t want them to see
  • However, parents are more likely to pay attention to their child’s homework (79%) than how much time their teen spends on the computer (46%) or what they do on social media (35%)
  •  Over half (51%) of teens don’t always use their real name on social networks
  • Of those teens that use anonymous social networks, 70% of teens use them to say things that they wouldn’t do if people knew who they were, such as personal or rude/explicit things
  •  85% use them so that parents cannot see what they’re talking about
  •   78% prefer remaining anonymous to simply conceal their identity
  • Facebook continues to be the most used social network among teens in the UK, followed by Instagram and Twitter
  • But almost half of teens (47%) know someone who is not on a social network – most (58%) because their parents don’t allow it

 I think you would agree some excellent stats, but what tips do you have for discussing social media and it use with your teens?