Parental monitoring is difficult to begin with. It's no longer just about the family computer, but about knowing what your teen is up to on the laptop, iPod, Xbox live, and smart phone. And to make it even more difficult, your teen is probably actively trying to hide their Internet activity from you.
7 out of 10 teens report hiding their online activity from their parents, whether by minimizing browser windows when you enter the room or using a device they know you don't or can't monitor as closely. They might set up dummy social networking profiles or email addresses to throw you off, or change their privacy settings so that you can't see everything you think you can. Or they could just plain lie about what they're doing online.
Teens can get away with a lot of that stuff, because they're often more tech-savvy than their parents when it comes to the Internet.
Of course that's not always bad. Having your teen show you how to set up a social networking profile or install a piece of software to your computer can be a bonding experience – teens love to be the expert, after all – but the problem is when parents feel they're so far behind that they think trying to monitor their child's online activity is hopeless.
The perfect parental monitoring combines good communication and sound monitoring techniques. Good communication will ensure that your teen doesn't feel the need to lie about their Internet activity, or at least to lie about it as often (let's be realistic.) And sound monitoring – software that monitors your child, not the device they use, for example – ensures that no red flags are escaping your attention.
Another interesting statistic to think about: 70% of teens in 2012 say they hide their Internet activities from parents, but in 2010 only 45% said they did. It appears that kids today think they're getting away with more by being secretive, which is one more reason to engage in parental monitoring if you aren't already.
-Article Contributed by Jenny Evans