The Five Moms

We are five moms from different backgrounds who have come together with a common concern: teenagers abusing OTC cough medicine to get high.

Parents, we have the power to make a difference!

August 26, 2014 —

Every month, we’re keeping you informed on the latest studies and research in our “Not My Teen” blog series. Today, we’re looking at the latest trends in teen online behavior, including cyberbullying, oversharing, social acceptance and online conflict leading to offline consequences.

With a new mobile app or social networking site emerging almost daily, you’ve grown used to seeing your teen constantly glued to his or her mobile device and computer. You may be aware of how much time your teen spends online, but do you actually know what your teen is doing?

New research suggests that teen online behavior is rapidly intensifying, which only makes keeping tabs on what your teen is doing in the digital world that much more necessary. In addition, the consequences of our teens’ online habits are spilling over into their lives offline. A recent study from McAfee and The Futures Company reveals that risky online behavior, such as cyberbullying and oversharing can lead to offline consequences. 

The Futures Company conducted the survey among 1,502 young adults, men and women ages 10 to 18, in the U.S. to examine the online behavior and social networking habits of U.S. preteens and teens. Results from the survey showed that 87% of youth have witnessed cyberbullying, which is a significant increase from last year’s 27%. Unfortunately, the negative consequences of cyberbullying are no longer exclusive to the cyber world. Fifty percent of youth have been involved in offline arguments because of something posted on social media, a 51% increase from last year. In terms of oversharing and privacy concerns, 39% of youth do not use privacy settings on their social networking profiles to protect their content. Additionally, 52% do not turn off their GPS services on their apps, making their location known to strangers. Finally, one in three youth reported feeling more accepted on social media than in real life.

As the line between the two worlds is blurring more and more every day, being aware of what’s truly going on in both your teen’s offline and online lives is more crucial than ever. While it’s a challenge, there are steps you can take to ensure that your teen is being responsible and safe in all communications:

  1. Keep the lines of communication open and talk to your teen about the risks that may be associated with each online connection.
  2. Know which digital devices and social media accounts your teen is on.
  3. Obtain the passwords for your teen’s digital devices and social media accounts.
  4. Stay informed about the latest social networking sites.
  5. Make sure your teen is aware of the connection between reputation and what he or she posts online.

Do you have any other tips to add to the list? Please feel free to share them in the comments below!