Revealing the Secret Online Lives of Teens

By Katie Ash — June 24, 2010 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The Internet security company McAfee has recently released a new report called “The Secret Online Lives of Teens,” which found that teenagers are regularly using the Internet to play games, communicate with others, and navigate content, and an alarming number also engage in risky behavior, such as sharing personal information in chat rooms and downloading programs or content without parental permission.

Twenty-eight percent of the teens surveyed admitted to chatting with strangers, and of those who did chat with strangers, 48 percent shared their first name, 24 percent shared their email addresses, 18 percent posted personal pictures, and 12 percent shared their cellphone numbers. About a third of the teens surveyed said they “often” or “always” hid their online activity from parents by minimizing the browser when parents were nearby, deleting or hiding text messages, and deleting browser history.

Almost a third of the teens said they had downloaded programs or content without parental permission, and more than half said they have witnessed cases of cyberbullying. Not surprisingly, the majority of kids, 81 percent, have some kind of social-networking profile, and 80 percent use the Internet to do research for school.

The data was collected from surveying about 1,000 13-17 year old students.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.