This month several surveys and reports have been released on tech, parenting, teens and cyberbullying.

Starting with the simple one that came from iKeepSafe, which was funded by AT&T, it focused on Cyberbalance in the Digital Culture.

  • 44% of teens admit they do to not get enough sleep because of digital devices
  • 40% of teens don’t complete their homework because of time with devices
  • 37% of teens admit their devices interfere with day to day activities
  • 30% of adults report their devices interfere with normal, everyday activities
  • 25% of adults admit they don’t get enough sleep because of digital devices

There was nothing truly shocking here, as we know that having our gadgets can interrupt our daily lives. It’s not like reading a book that typically would make us drowsy. The electronic buzz or digital lights keeps our brain cells going, we have to learn to disconnect not only in the evening but when we are in the company of others.

CyberRules2So what will you do about it?

Sometimes to acquire cyber-balance you need cyber-rules.

  • All devices stay in the kitchen at night (including the parents gadgets too). Role models matter.
  • Practice looking up when speaking to other people, putting your device down or away when you are with friends or other people.
  • Schedule your hands-free time.  (For both parents and teens). It starts with you!

Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) released their latest report conducted by Hart Research Associates, Parents, Privacy and Technology Use.

Here are a few of the findings:

  • 78% of parents believe technology has a positive effect on their child’s future, career and life skills
  • 54% of parents say they have learned something about their device (smartphone or tablet) from their child
  • 39% of parents have learned more about social networking sites from their child
  • 36% of parents have used parent controls such as a tool, app or program to monitor or limit their child’s Internet use
  • 87% of parents say they have rules for their child’s technology use and consequences in place
  • 19% of parents say they have posted something a child has asked them to remove


None of these stats are too surprising, until I read the following statistics:

  • 59% of parents are highly confident in their ability to manage their child’s technology
  • 81% of parents think they know a lot or most of what their children are doing online

I’m never one to dispute research and I’m not going to start now. If this is what Hart Research discovered, I’m thrilled!

I work with many parents of teenagers on a daily and weekly basis and I’ve yet to hear of one parent that is able to keep up with their teen’s digital and device ability.  On the contrary, they’re at their wit’s end! The frustration of not being able to keep up can be stressful.

From texting to social networking, teens (from parents that I speak with) seem to be way ahead of parents. Which is why we consistently remind parents today to get engaged both offline and online with their teenagers.

What can you do?

  • Stay updated on the latest acronyms, apps and sites teens are using
  • Know your teen’s digital playgrounds and preferences, where do they virtually surf
  • Check their smartphone usage – what are their most visited sites
  • Continue to have your teen teach you more technology, you will learn more about them – digitally and otherwise
  • Offline parenting is key to online safety, and can help your teen make better cyber-choices – such as, when in doubt–click out

New research conducted by Telus Wise in partnership with Media Smarts and PREVNet, discusses Cyberbullying and youth.

  • 71% of youth that witnessed cyberbullying said they did something to intervene

That is the headline to this study and is extremely important especially since being an upstander is key to combating bullying.

In this study youth said they were more likely to stand up for a family member, which is understandable. It’s no different than generations earlier when someone would dish your mother or tease your sibling – you stood up for your family.

  • 90% of youth would  intervene if the target was a family member and 89% said they would intervene if it were a close friend — by comparison only 37% said they would intervene if it were someone they didn’t know personally

Parents and trusted adults matter.

Youth seek to talk to a trusted adult or friend first when asked about how to handle a cyberbullying situation.

However these same youth said they would intervene more if  trusted adults and parents did a better job of supporting them.

  • 33% of youth believe that adults don’t give advice that helps
  • 43% of youth believe that talking to adults or teachers will not change anything

From the research, it’s clear that educating parents and teachers is a piece that is necessary- but we need the parents to get engaged.  In reality there’s a lot of information online about cyberbullying prevention, however parents need to want to learn more about is. Parents need to take the time to find out more about cyberbullying resources and prevention to be able to help their child when they are faced with difficult situations.

It’s so much more than stop, block and tell…. it’s hey, we’re here for you and this is how I can help you.

Has your child ever been falsely accused of being a bully? Here’s 12 steps of what you need to know by Mary Kay Hoal. Be an educated parent when your child comes to you no matter what side of the fence they are on.