Parenting: Top Ten Ways Teens Hide Online Behavior From Parents


Teenagers are getting clever with their online behavior. A new survey from McAfee revealed that nearly half of parents believe their teens tell them everything they do online, while 70% of teens revealed that they have found ways to avoid parental monitoring.

Teenage girl smiling in front of a laptop

How Teens Hide Their Online Behavior From Their Parents

The top ten ways teens fool their parents include the following:

1. Clearing the browser history (53%)
2. Closing/minimizing the browser when a parent walks by (46%)
3. Hiding or deleting instant messages or videos (34%)
4. Lying or omitting details about online activities (23%)
5. Using a computer their parents don’t check (23%)
6. Using an Internet-enabled mobile device (21%)
7. Using privacy settings to make certain content viewable only by friends (20%)
8. Using private browsing modes (20%)
9. Creating private email address unknown to parents (15%)
10. Creating duplicate/fake social network profiles (9%)

Many of these tricks can be prevented by installing a parental control solution that monitors Internet usage or time controls. For example, Net Nanny can monitor the web sites a teen visits and also Facebook activity.

Also, it's very important to not give a child or teen "administrator" rights on your home computer. To clarify, all computer operating systems have modes of operation. These modes restrict privileges on what a user of the computer can and cannot do. If someone has "Admin" rights, they have unrestricted access to create, delete, and modify files, folders, and settings on that computer. A technically savvy user with “Admin” rights doesn't need to play by the standard rules to uninstall programs or delete critical files. The operating system assumes that if you are the Admin, you are in charge. To learn more about this, see this article "Parents: Don't Give Kids Admin Rights On Their Computer."

Overall, parents need to have open dialogues with their teens about Internet use. There are other issues that teens either forget about or omit from conversation. Those issues are identity theft, cyberbullying, sexual predators, and more. Teens tend to post too much information online because they have less inhibition dealing with the cyber world.

I work for Net Nanny. The opinions expressed here are my own.

 How do you monitor your teen's online behavior? How do you help them stay safe on the Internet?

Russ Warner is President & CEO of ContentWatch, maker of Net Nanny, top-rated desktop and mobile web filter ( He is used as an expert source in the national press on a regular basis and speaks regularly on the topic of Internet and mobile safety. Warner was asked to speak at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on what parents can do to help their children navigate the digital age and was recently quoted in the NY Post. Under Warner’s leadership, ContentWatch leads an ongoing Internet safety campaign and has conducted seminars for the local Utah media, the Utah Coalition Against Pornography, and numerous schools.

Featured image courtesy of Flickr.

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