Do Parents REALLY Know What Their Kids are Doing Online?

Recently, Sydney and I were asked by local news station, WFMY, to sit on a panel with otherDo you really know what your kids are doing on their smartphones? parents and teens regarding teens use of smart phones. The apps they use, the “secret” codes they use and general questions regarding safety. Knowing that the kids would open up more if they weren’t with their parents, the two groups were split up and asked the same set of questions. The goal was to see how much each group knew about secret apps and texting acronyms. Here’s the video of the piece that aired:

I wish I could tell you that the results were staggering but in fact, they weren’t. What I WAS surprised by is that on our way home as we discussed what we covered, I learned that for as poorly as some parents did on the acronyms – the teens did WORSE!! As a matter of fact, the two that were with me said they don’t use acronyms at all other than the common ones like WTH, LOL, BRB, etc. I was honestly surprised by that! I wonder if we as parents just assume that they do because the media likes to put it in our head. I’m not saying that all the teens don’t use it but if these two don’t, as well as their friends, I have to imagine it’s a better indicator than what an adult would tell me. Side note – I’d love if you’d ask your teens if they use “code” when they text… 

What do Teens Think About Their Parents Keeping Watch?

I was also (pleasantly) surprised to hear the teens say that they all try to use their best behavior online because they know their parents are watching – even if at a distance. They realize that we’re just trying to keep them safe and are worried. Added bonus?? Sydney hit the nail on the head and we were both on the same page.. no conflicting stories 😉 Here’s the more in-depth video of the teens talking about their smartphone use:

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How Much Do Parents Keep Up?

But what about the parents? As expected, we all had different ways of handling it but at the end of the day, we were all pretty in-tune to what our kids are doing online. I obviously have a bit of an advantage over the average parent, but the 5 parents I was with were pretty much on top of it. The only thing that threw the other parents for a loop was the secret vault app. 

In this day and time, parents (adult, really) can’t afford to continue to take a back seat attitude to a huge in your face issue like smart phones, apps and technology. You have to be diligent and you have to stay on top of which apps are getting used the most. Need a list? Off the top of my head,

The Apps You Need to Watch Out For

  • Snapchat
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Kik (EVIL.. do not let them have it)
  • Private Photo (and other secret vault apps)
  • Whisper
  • Tinder
  • YikYak (not as popular but worth mentioning)

There are more apps to be aware of but that should get you started.

Let Me Teach What Your Tenss Don’t Want You to Know

If you’re local(ish) to me, did you know you can hire me to come in and coach you and your friends in the privacy of your own home on these apps as well as how to use them? For reals. It’s kind of like Pampered Chef but you gain power and knowledge – not kitchen goods. No parent likes to admit that they have NO idea how to navigate these sites and find that it’s easier with friends and a glass of wine. Trust me, by the end of the time your teens will hate me and you will love me.

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What You’ll Learn and Your Take-Aways:

  • Top smartphone and social media sites kids are using
  • Secret Apps they do NOT want you to know about
  • We’ll download the apps on phones and walk thru the basics of each one
  • How to watch what your kids are doing without stalking them and scaring them off
  • Our best monitoring software recommendations
  • You’ll leave with a social media checklist to review with your kids
  • Smartphone contract that outlines best practices and your expectations for you and your child to review and sign.

I do have an online course coming out soon that will cover all of those in-depth so keep an eye out for that.

For what it’s worth, I LOVED what Detective Shorts recommends to parents. Instead of parents sneaking around their kids phones to try and “bust them”, do it WITH them… you’ll both get a lot more out of it. Use it as a teaching moment, not a punishing moment.