Majority of teens own smartphones, new survey shares how parents are managing to become cyber-savvy.


Interestingly, in a new PEW Survey, the majority of parents (65 percent) have concern over the amount of time their teen is online. They are worrying that they are losing the ability to communicate in person or possibly sharing too much personal information and of course, the fear of them being harassed or inadvertently sending/receiving explicit images.

Parents are challenged with this same attraction. In this survey the majority (59 percent) admitted they feel obligated to respond to their smartphone notifications immediately and find they lose time and focus at work due to their phone. Over a third (36 percent) say they spend too much time on their phones.

Knowledge is power

Since we know we are as engaged in our gadgets are the younger generation is, this can be empowering for parents – confirming we must lead by example with our devices and online behavior. The PEW Survey said that 90 percent of parents are confident in their ability to teach their teens’ about appropriate online behavior and 87 percent said they are able to keep up with their teens’ experiences online.

We have witnessed a lot of online hate by adults, it can be extremely disturbing. Frequently when we refer to cyberbullying, it has to do with kids, but when you point to social platforms such as Twitter or Instagram, we are watching adults attack each other in vicious ways — this is unacceptable behavior that parents should condemn to their children.

Cyberbullying and harassment

According to this PEW Survey, 59 percent of say parents are doing an excellent or good job at addressing cyberbullying – a notably positive assessment, considering how teens rate other groups measured in this survey. Teens are far less likely to rate the anti-bullying efforts of elected officials, social media companies and teachers positively.

Digital grounding

I speak with parents on a weekly basis, many that struggle with teens that are attached to their digital devices. Using digital grounding as a form of punishment can sometimes backfire on parents.

Many of these parents continue their story of how their teen was able to get a phone through a friend (less than a desirable peer) or other means that they usually don’t approve of.

Developing healthy and balanced screen-time as well as appropriate online behavior, from the start, for all (including parents) can help prevent potential disasters or issues.

Today vs your youth

When asked to compare the experiences of today’s teens to their own experiences when they were a teen, 48 percent of parents say today’s teens have to deal with a completely different set of issues. A similar share of parents of teens (51 percent) believe that despite some differences, the issues young people deal with today are not that different from when they themselves were teenagers.

I’m not so sure. We had peer pressure offline, today it’s compounded to both online and offline. We have the younger generation living for likes – both in reality and digitally. It’s not that easy.

The sad part is, so are the parents. As they continue to overshare their kid’s information on their social platforms. No longer are bragging rights dedicated to photo albums – they’re viral.

Be a respectful digital parent, ask permission of your tween or teen before you post or tag them on your social platform.