Microsoft: 60% of U.S. Teens Keep Secret Online Accounts
Many teens in the U.S. are having brushes with darker side of the internet and their parents are largely unaware of what's going on in their kids' digital lives.Microsoft today released the findings of a new study conducted on behalf of the company by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA). After surveying 804 American teens, aged 13 to 17, and 810 parents of teens of those ages, Microsoft and the NCSA found that when it comes to online safety, teens and their parents aren't quite on the same page. Sixty percent of the teens admitted that they had created an account their parents don't know about in order to use an app, social media site or other online service. Only 13 percent said their parents were "completely aware" of their online activities. Parents, on the other hand, said they were "neutral" in terms of awareness about their kids' online activities. A mere 3 percent claimed they knew everything their children did online. Effectively, a good number of parents are in the dark when their teens become the target of insulting and offensive conduct online. While it may not always rise to the level of persistent and sustained cyber-bullying and harassment, many teens in the United States are nonetheless encountering some hurtful behavior.
"Thirty-nine percent of teens surveyed said someone had been mean or cruel to them when they were online or using their cell phones in the 12 months ending June 2016, and more than half (52 percent) said the content of those hurtful messages was about something the teen said or did," Jacqueline Beauchere, Microsoft chief online safety officer, wrote in an Aug. 24 blog post. "Meanwhile, 45 percent said their appearance was the focus of the rude remarks, and 27 percent said they received mean messages about their sexual orientation, their gender (25 percent), or their race or ethnicity (24 percent)."