Data on Kids’ Online Activities

Some interesting new data that will be of particular interest to communicators who work with parents and or kids online:

According to a recent Common Sense Media survey that examined how social networks are affecting kids and families, parents still are out of touch with their kids’ behavipirs online. Common Sense Media is a respected leader on kids and media issues, with expertise in kids’ media, technology, health, and policy matters.

The survey of both teens and parents found that many teens use the internet as a forum for gossip, sharing and blowing off steam, and also for negative activities like bullying.

Have you/your child ever done this online? % of Teens Actual % of Parents Perception
Complain about or make fun of your teachers

54%

29%

Post something you later regretted

39

20

Make fun of other students

37

18

Share personal information about yourself that you would not normally share in public

28

16

Send or post sexual jokes that you would not normally say out loud

24

14

Create a profile for yourself with a different or false identity

25

12

Pretend to be someone else online

26

10

Download or share files illegally

23

10

Pretend to be an adult while chatting with someone online

18

8

Post false information or lies about other people

16

4

Sign onto someone else’s social networking account or profile using their password, without them knowing.

24

4

Send or post naked or semi-naked photos or videos of yourself or others online

13

2

Source: Common Sense Media, August 2009

 

Online Teen Behavior
Online Activity % Teens saying they have done online
Post something you later regretted

39%

Share personal information about yourself that you would not normally share in public

28

Send or post pictures of others that you’re not sure they would want shared

24

Send or post naked or semi-naked photos or videos of yourself or others online

13

Source: Common Sense Media, August 2009

 

Frequency of Teens Visiting Websites (% of Teens Responding)
Online Activity More than Once Daily More than 10 times a Day
Social Networking Sites

51%

22%

Sites with streaming TV or video

33

13

Online gaming sites

30

12

Websites that host teen chat rooms

14

6

Websites for homework or report help

7

3

Sports websites

7

2

Source: Common Sense Media, 2009

Common Sense Media concludes with this call to understanding and action:

  • Social networks and mobile communication connect our kids to their friends 24/7. But there are differences between face-to-face communication and digital communication. It’s important to understand how the nature of technology is changing the nature of how our kids learn to communicate.
  • On the positive side, social networks are a relatively safe space for kids to try on different hats and figure out not only who they are but also who they want to be. But when teens communicate either anonymously or through a disguised identity, the doors are left wide open for them not to be held accountable. It also leads to a real disconnect between action and consequence, which is how irresponsible behaviors like cyberbullying become a reality. 
  •  The call to action is clear: Parents are the first line of defense when it comes to helping kids use the same senses of responsibility and self-respect whether they’re online or off.