With two surveys recently released, it’s time to check-in with how we’re doing as a digital society.

As far as parents are concerned, they are doing better, according to a recent PEW Survey. They are becoming more engaged in their teen’s activity online including knowing their teen’s passwords (see graph below).

Not to be a Debby Downer, but what about the other 52% – 57% – and the other social media accounts? However this is much better than when parents weren’t involved in their child’s cyber-life. We are beginning to see progress.

What I was excited to see was the conversations that are now taking place. I frequently write about discussing online life – offline.

When it comes to guiding their teen about making the right decisions, parents discuss “real life” behaviors somewhat more often than online behavior. Virtually all parents – 98% – report ever speaking with their teen about what is appropriate or inappropriate conduct in school, at home and in their social lives, with 56% saying they have these conversations frequently.

Similarly, nearly all parents say they talk with their teen about appropriate behavior in various online platforms. For example, 94% of parents say they ever talk with their teen about what they should share online, while 92% say they talk with their teen about what constitutes appropriate online behavior towards others.

What’s interesting is that parents of younger teens (13-14) talk more frequently with their child than parents whose teen is 15-17. This is concerning since the older teen is getting ready for their college admission or employment.  They especially need to be conscience of their digital resume (however I’m not saying to neglect the conversation with your younger teen), since all digital discussions are imperative. Your cyber-impression is usually the first one your college recruiter or potential employer will know about you.

Another reason why staying in touch with your younger child is so important brings me to the second report by ChildLine.

Of the total number of counseling sessions ChildLine conducted from 2014 to 2015, 35,244 of them involved children experiencing pressures from social media and cyber-bullying, worries that were considered to be non-existent among young people 30 years ago.

It went on to say that previously the biggest concerns of children at the time were family problems, pregnancy, physical abuse and sexual abuse.

Loneliness and low self-esteem have replaced sexual abuse and teenage pregnancy as the most common reasons youngsters call ChildLine, a study marking the 30th anniversary of the helpline found.

These are all reasons for parents of all age teenagers and tweens to continue to open their lines of communication offline about their online lives. In combination with going online with them.

Back to the PEW Survey, most parents said they check-in with what their teens do online and on their social media accounts and will implement consequences if they see their teen has crossed boundaries.  65% of parents have removed their cellphone or Internet privileges, while 55% have limited the amount of time their teen can spend online.

Interestingly, parents of 13-17 monitor their teen’s digital usage in a variety of ways (review the graph). What is more important is the frequency that parents chat with their teens about their online behavior (review the bottom graph).

Considering we are making strides in general about offline discussions about online life, it’s good to know that parents are realizing that digital dialogue is important to your teen’s future.

I’m going to wrap this up with a final survey that came out recently by OfficeTeam.

No matter who you are, from tweens to teens to adults (including parents) — your social media mistakes matter.

This is why starting early, learning young and being proactive now can prevent you from making cyber-blunders for your future.

Eventually your teen will be searching for employment (maybe you will be or are). According to this recent survey,  62% of Human Resource Managers cited that posting negative or inappropriate comments on social media reduced their chance of being hired.

Especially for the older generation that believes that not being on social media means your free from digital blunders, think again.

According to statistics, not having a any virtual history is just as risky as having a spotty one.


  • What are you hiding?
  • Do you have an alias?
  • Maybe you’re not tech or digi-savy. Even if the job isn’t in IT, most employer’s want someone that can at least use a computer.

So we go back to why our offline conversations are so important about online social behavior. Discuss these reports – it’s important to understand that it’s not only teachers, mom and dad telling your teens to behave online — it’s literally their future.

We have come to a point in life that keystrokes and clicks will determine your college, your job and in some cases — maybe you’re next relationship.

PS: I know older teens aren’t the easiest to chat with, tips to open the lines of communication.