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Text, Twitter, Tweet… talk with your teen about how to behave on the web

Today’s parents must navigate how, when and to what extent they oversee their teens’ online and mobile activities. Knowing when to step back and when to take a more hands-on approach is challenging.

A new US report from the Pew Research Center on parents of 13 to 17-year-olds finds that parents take a wide range of actions to monitor their teen’s digital life and to encourage their child to use technology in an appropriate and responsible manner.

Here are six takeaways from the report:

6. Nearly all parents have talked with their teen about how to behave on the web. More than nine-in ten parents have discussed what is appropriate to share online (94%), what constitutes appropriate online behavior towards others (92%) and what is appropriate content for teens to view online (95%).

Whether or not parents frequently discuss acceptable conduct with their teen varies by a number of demographic characteristics. For example, mothers are more likely than fathers to report talking frequently with their teen about appropriate online and offline behaviour.

There are also differences based on household income. Across the five types of conversations measured, parents who are less affluent are more likely than those from higher-income households to have these regular conversations. And Hispanic parents (51%) are more likely than white (32%) or black (32%) parents to frequently speak with their teen about their online behaviour towards others.

In summary, 84% of parents report taking at least one of these six steps to monitor or restrict their child’s online activities, while 16% indicate that they have not taken any of these actions with their teen.


Monica Anderson is a research associate focusing on internet, science and technology at Pew Research Center.

Tune in for more tips and ideas next week.

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