Just How Many Parents Monitor Their Kids Online?

The term “helicopter parent” may soon be replaced with “facebook parent.” If you’re a parent, how often do you check on your child via Facebook, Twitter, or other social networks? According to a new study, roughly 3 out of 4 parents check up on their kids at least once a month. It has already led to some amusing exchanges between parents and kids. Not necessarily their kids. Just kids in general:

The Study

The survey of 2,000 parents and teenagers by TRUSTe and Lightspeed Research found that 72% of parents check in on their teen’s social networking accounts at least once per month. That’s made easier by the prevalence of Facebook – 95% of parents and 90% of teens with a social networking account have one on Facebook, and “most of those teens are friends with their parents,” according to the study.

That said, most parents are actually fairly confident in how their teens use social networking sites, with 84% reporting that they are “confident their teen is responsible with personal information on a social networking site.” That’s in spite of the fact that 68% of teens have accepted a friend request from a stranger.

Teens – perhaps much moreso than other groups – also seem to be much more cognizant of the privacy settings provided by sites like Facebook, with 80% reporting they use them to hide content from certain people, including their parents. Still, 18% of teens said they, “have been embarrassed or disciplined as a result of a posting.”


Overall, it would seem that both parents and teens are getting smarter about how to use social networking sites and manage their privacy. Anne Collier, co-director of ConnectSafely.org, added in a statement that the study, “reinforces what we’re seeing – that parents and teens share a keen interest in teen privacy in social network sites, that most teens are acting on those privacy interests, and that parents are, at the same time acknowledging that and wisely seeing the need to support teens’ responsible use with some monitoring.”