God, Parents, You Just Don't Understand What Teens Are Doing on the Internet

Old man yells at cloud; also, his son (Image: Shutterstock)
Old man yells at cloud; also, his son (Image: Shutterstock)

MOM! DAD! Why don’t you understand me? Why don’t you get my internet tendencies? Why don’t you instinctively know that all I want to do with my time is snap flower-crown selfies and stan Zayn on Tumblr? Why can’t you just let me be me?


According to a new survey from the National Cyber Security Alliance—an organization sponsored in part by Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and the Department of Homeland Security—teens across America are contending with these issues.

The study polled 804 “online teens” between the ages of 13 and 17, as well as 810 parents of “online teens” in the same age group. In what should come as a shock to no one, the “online teens” were basically like, Jesus Christ, Mom, do you have any idea what the internet is?


Among the key findings: Sixty percent of the participating teens said they’d made online accounts their parents knew nothing about, whereas 28 percent of parents said the same. A mere 13 percent of teens said their parents were “completely aware of of the full extent of their activities online,” and only 33 percent of teens said they’d go to their parents if they had serious problems online.

A few other tidbits of note:

Sorry, Zuck. “Online teens largely experience the online world through their use of smartphones, and their use of Snapchat (66%) and Instagram (65%) now surpasses their use of Facebook (61%).”

Are teens actually old people in disguise? 75 percent of teens said they used Gmail, second only to YouTube, which came in at 91 percent.

The NCSA chalked the differences up to an “apparent digital disconnect.” This doesn’t seem to be a digital disconnect so much as a disconnect that has always existed simply transferred to the digital age, but who can say!

The issues that the NCSA is attempting to address certainly aren’t silly. The survey also cited issues of harassment, bullying, the disclosure of private information, and identity theft. But the approach is a little off, particularly when it carries the tagline, “Parents Encouraged to Take a Fresh Approach to the ‘Tech Talk.’” It’s been a few years since I was a teenager, but there is possibly nothing less appealing for young people than having their parents sit them down for a “tech talk.”


William Turton, Gizmodo’s resident teen correspondent, had this to say about teens on the ‘net: “Delete your accounts. Put your laptop in the bathtub.” Seems like solid advice for everyone, actually.

[The Guardian]


Sophie is a former news editor at Gizmodo.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter


Arggh! there goes a...snake a snake!

Are teens actually old people in disguise? 75 percent of teens said they used Gmail”

Wait, is Gmail for old people now? It used to be that Yahoo Mail, Hotmail or AOL was for old people. Or maybe using your Comcast email address. Damn it, I’m old?