Today the world is changing at a rapid pace. With ongoing innovations in every area of our lives, it can be a challenge to keep up-to-date on all the new technology. As wave after wave of new devices and applications come in, you may feel at best overwhelmed or even like you could get left behind. However, it’s extremely important that we keep children safe online and with mobile devices because with new frontiers come new dangers.
Numerous studies reveal the frightening threats to today’s online teens. Parents believe they are in control when it comes to monitoring their teen’s online behaviors. However, these studies show that many parents know very little about what their children are doing online — particularly with their mobile phones.
How much time does your child spend in front of mobile screens?
- Studies vary wildly on how much screen time teens indulge in, particularly by country. However, a recent global study of 32 different countries found that teens spend about three hours on the mobile web per day.
- A British study found that a child born in 2014 can expect to spend an entire year of his life — that’s 365 days for 24 hours a day — in front of a screen by the age of seven.
- Another study found that people check their mobile devices on average over 200 times per day.
Mobile devices give today’s teens unprecedented access to dangerous activities
The internet and its endless wealth of information can be a blessing or a curse. Teens often haven’t developed the judgmental skills necessary to prevent them from making poor decisions that can negatively affect their entire future — personally, academically, professionally, and even physically. Here are some of the most common and damaging behaviors teens exhibit online.
Pirating movies and music
- Up to 5 years in prison and/or $250,000 in fines
- Copyright holders can sue for up to $150,000 for each work
Hacking email or social accounts
- If your child gives away an email or social media password to friends, they can be vulnerable to being pranked, humiliated, or worse.
- On the other hand, if your teen is engaged in hacking, they can be charged with a misdemeanor or even a felony.
- In a case last year, several teens hacked video games and military helicopter training software valued at $100 – $200 million and face up to five years in prison.
There are obvious physical dangers to revealing private information online. Unfortunately, many kids either don’t realize it or don’t care:
- 50% of teens have posted their email address publicly online
- 30% have posted their phone number
- 14% of teens have publicly posted their home address
What’s more, there are reputation ramifications to teens posting embarrassing confessions or compromising photographs — which can haunt your child well into adulthood thanks to the permanence of the internet.
With instant access to vast amounts of information makes it extremely easy for teens to cheat on their schoolwork, jeopardizing their academic and professional futures. According to a 2012 McAfee study:
- 48% of teens found answers to tests online
- 22% of teens admitted to cheating on a test with their phones or other online access
- Only 5% of parents were aware that their children were cheating on tests
Even though bullying is more common in person, mobile technology means that bullies today aren’t restricted to the schoolyard. Your child could be the victim of cyberbullying — or they might even be engaged in cyberbullying others.
- 25% of school children say they’ve been a victim of cyberbullying
- 16% of kids admitted that they had cyberbullied others
- 62% of teens say they’ve witnessed cruelty online
In terms of bullying risk, over half of teens who have social media accounts say they’ve experienced negative situations.
- Girls are more likely to be victims or offenders of cyberbullying than boys.
- Warning signs for cyberbullying include self-esteem issues, suicidal thoughts, issues at school, antisocial behavior, drug/alcohol abuse, and other emotional and psychological problems.
- “Traditional” (in-person) bullying is correlated with cyberbullying, which means if a child experiences the former, they are likely to experience the latter and vice versa.
The ability to easily access sexually explicit images on mobile phones means that your teen may be watching pornography — or even participating in it — without your knowledge. You may not think your teen is watching pornography (only 12% of parents believe their teen is accessing pornography online) but…
- 32% of teens admit to intentionally accessing online porn
- 43% of teens who watch pornography do it on a weekly basis or more often
- Pornography can have devastating effects on the teenage brain
In addition to watching professional pornography, many teens also engage in “sexting” each other. Sexting involves sending text or email messages containing pornographic images of oneself or receiving those types of messages from others.
- 38% of teens confess to sending naked pictures of themselves to others
- 31% admitted asking others to send them a sext
Read The Parenting Safety Tips For Teens On Mobile Phones & Tablets – E-Book
- Are Your Keeping Up With Your Teen & Mobile Technology?
- What You Can Do To Protect Your Teen On Mobile Devices
- Tips For Dealing With Common Dangers On Mobile Devices
- How To Protect Your Teen On Specific Mobile Apps
- Should You Monitor Your Teen’s Online Activity?
- How To Set Security Settings On Your Child’s Mobile Device
- More Internet & Mobile Safety Resources For Parents
- The Parenting Safety Tips For Teens On Mobile Phones & Tablets – E-Book – PDF Download