What are the teens you work with doing online?  

My guess is you have some idea of what the teenagers in your group are doing, and where they are going when they are online.

I was reading this article at mashable, and I wanted to put down some thoughts here.

According to the Mashable article, “70% of teens are hiding their online behavior from their parents, up from 45% in 2010.”  This is a huge problem.  What are the teens you work with hiding from their parents, and from you?  Here are a few things that the majority of teens today are doing online.

Teens are cheating.  According to the McAffee study they state, “48.1% of teens admitted to looking up assignments and test answers online, while 77.2% of their parents said they don’t worry about their kids cheating in school.”  Teens are going online to look for answers.  This past year one of my senior high students shared how he went to the website sparknotes to get the study notes for books instead of reading them.  Do you think that is a problem?  What happens when these behaviors get set in their teen years, and they carry this on to college and university.  That could become a problem.

Teens are hacking other people’s accounts.  According to the Mashable article, “51% of teens reported that they have hacked someone’s social media account…Meanwhile, less than 1 in 10 parents surveyed were aware that their children engaged in these illegal activities.”  How often do you see on someone’s account hacked.  If you actually think about it you might see more cases of it.  Looking back this past month, I have seen tons of peoples accounts hacked, and usually with a statement like, ” __________ loves his sister” or “_________ needs to log out of their facebook account”.  This is harmless, but a year ago a teen girl I have in my youth ministry signed on to a facebook with a samsung tablet in a cellphone store, and another teen when on and posted obscene stuff, and actually changed the password of the facebook account.  This girl and her parents had to apologize and explain what happened to hundreds of people.  This brought a lot of damage to this family.  All it took was a hacked facebook account.

Teens today are hiding.  This was the most surprising thing that stood out to me.  I thought that there was a lot of accountability for teens today.  In the Mashable article it states that, “a majority of teens (53%) regularly clear their browser history to keep their parents out of the loop. Twenty-four percent of teens went so far as to either create private email addresses unknown to their parents or create duplicate/fake social media profiles.”  We need to help parents understand how to navigate the digital world with their teenager.  25% of the parents surveyed said that they were overwhelmed with social media and how to navigate it.  Are you partnering with parents to help their students?

What other online behavior have you been noticing with the teens you work with?