McAfee study: 70 percent of teens hiding what they are doing online

A new study by McAfee shows that 70 percent of teenagers hide what they’re doing online, and experts say iPads present the biggest electronics challenge for parents today.

From The Northwest Herald:

“Kids, however, are taking advantage of their parents, according to a study titled “The Digital Divide: How the Online Behavior of Teens is Getting Past Parents,” sponsored by online security company McAfee…”

“Half of teens surveyed said they would change their online behavior if they knew their parents were watching, and more than 70 percent have done something to hide their online activity…”

So what should parents do?

“Allowing children to have computers in their bedrooms is one of the worst things parents can do, said Mark Peloquin, co-owner of LeadingIT Solutions of Crystal Lake….”

He says parents need to use the parental controls to help prevent access to inappropriate sites, limit time online and monitor online conversations.

He says the biggest challenge now is how to lock down iPads and smartphones.

We definitely have that challenge with the iPad and iPods. While I would never put a computer or TV in their bedrooms, the big kids like to lie in their beds and play on the iPad and watch videos on You Tube. We check in to see what they are watching (usually “Total Drama Island” or Minecraft pardody and how-to video, but you never know. Our biggest issue is they try to sneak those electronics after bedtime. We have to do a bedtime collection of electronics so we know where they all are.

What are your biggest electronic challenges with your kids? Do you think they would change their online habits if you were watching? How do you monitor iPads and iPods and smart phones?

15 comments Add your comment


January 9th, 2013
12:49 pm

There are monitoring apps available that will tell you anything you want to know about the activity on an iPad. Just do a search for iKeyMonitor.
And the link below offers numerous tips and tricks that can be performed with just the built-in settings on an iPad/iPhone –


January 9th, 2013
1:10 pm

TWG, my comment is in moderation, I’m sure b/c I included two links (apparently you can include one without getting flagged but not 2).


January 9th, 2013
1:14 pm

I don’t think there’s anything new about this. Teenagers have always been a step ahead of parents, remember when you were one? When my daughter was 13, we were friends on myspace and I thought I saw everything she posted until I found out she had another account that she shared with her friends and a mother pointed something obscene she had posted to me. I locked her out of all the computers in the house only to find out later she was able to connect through a game console she had. They spend most of their teenage life trying to learn new ways around parents securites so this article doesn’t surprise me at all.


January 9th, 2013
1:15 pm

And in other news, water is wet.

Atlanta Mom

January 9th, 2013
1:17 pm

Unless your child’s school requires an ipad, I’d give them an old fashioned desktop, prominently displayed in a public space in your home.
As for an ipod, I think you can once again, get an old fashioned one, which is just for music.
If you start saying ‘NO’ to your children when they are two, it’s a lot easier when they are 12.


January 9th, 2013
1:29 pm

Why would you never put a TV in a teenager’s bedroom? Are you unable to allow anyone to make any sort of decision without feeling threatened? Kids raised in these kinds of environments leave as soon as possible and try everything they can when they do because they have never been allowed to express any sort individualism.


January 9th, 2013
1:33 pm

Hmm… sheltering kids and trying to keep their hands out of the cookie jar sounds like the causation to today’s Get Schooled blog regarding binge drinking and sex in youngsters… just sayin’


January 9th, 2013
1:38 pm

Since my comment is still “in moderation,” I’m going to repost most of it…

Your kids will obey the rules you enforce. If you hand them a device and never set limits OR never check to see if they are following your rules, they’ll eventually test the waters. There are programs out there that will let you monitor your child and put limits on their devices. BUT you have to take the time to install them and then monitor them.

There are web filters for the iPad and iPod (google it) and you can use the built-in restrictions to prevent adult-content.

But if I were a parent of a young child, I honestly would steer away from the iPad (it’s too stinking expensive anyway) and head for a Kindle Fire. Not only is it half the price but their new FreeTime app gives you a much simpler method to control the content for your kids. You can have a profile for each child and limit their screen time by what they’re doing (i.e. you can limit apps, videos and books separately, as well as total time).

Voice of Reason

January 9th, 2013
2:29 pm

I have a corporate-grade SonicWall TZ 210 firewall at my house with the Internet content filter enabled. My kids hate me. Mwahaha!


January 9th, 2013
3:57 pm

As always, we are reading about something that has been around for years. The fact that you let your kids have Ipads without any monitoring or blocks shows that you have no handle on what they do. Learn to set limits.

A tech parent

January 9th, 2013
3:59 pm

Let me help some of you out. I am in the IT business so I wont bore you with technical jargon. I am used to talk to users and I hope this helps you out.

1. All home routers are equipped with a firewall that can prevent your children from accessing the internet at certain times. Just enable this and make them leave their cell phones where you can see them when they “go to bed”

2. restrict the apps they can download to their phone by simply setting up their store accounts and maintaining the passwords yourself. if they need a cool app then they bring the phone to you and you approve it or deny it.

3. make sure you have full access to their social media sites to monitor them if they change the passwords on any of the sites you can actually call the site itself and have it locked down. Some of you “parents” out there cant control your children so I added this option.

4. Google “web filtering for children” and you will find many options. I use K9 at home and once its installed there is a master password that has to be used to modify the settings or to uninstall it. Very simple to use.

5. if you REALLY don’t trust your child or they are more technically savvy than you are, then I would encourage you to install a key logger on all computers they use. You can use revealer keylogger free edition to accomplish this. You have to modify your antivirus so it works properly but once installed it runs silently and only you can see the output. Tip: don’t ever tell you child you do this even if you find something.

6. install an application on their cell phones that monitor all activity in real time. Google “monitor children’s cell phone” and there are a lot of choices.

Good luck in raising those kids!!


January 9th, 2013
6:32 pm

If you are not doing school work, no computer usage. No TVs in room and no TV during the week when school is in session. 1 does have a cell phone, but only gets it when she has events at school. It’s not being mean but I need their focus to be on school. Because at 18 if you don’t go on to further (more schooling, military etc) yourself, you will have 90 days to find a place to stay and you will be cut off from the purse.


January 9th, 2013
7:12 pm

OK — if no computers are allowed in their rooms, why are they allowed to have an iPad in their room? It’s a computer that can access the internet. I don’t see why you are so adamant about no computers in the room, and then turn around and let them take an iPad to bed!!?

Best way to handle it: There’s a computer in the family room. That’s the one they are permitted to use — out in the open, with people going by all the time. Put on some parental controls, and tell them they are there. Have passwords to their social sites (but don’t stalk them.) You don’t have to sneak around your kids — you’re the parent, you don’t have to explain yourself or excuse yourself.

You can drive yourself crazy trying to monitor every atom that goes into their brain, but it’s a big world out there. And think back — did your parents have any success at keeping you completely sheltered from the world? Probably not. At some point, you just have to trust that you have given them a good foundation from which to make good decisions — and be there to correct them when the decision-making fails. Learn how to explain why pornography is bad in terms that they can understand, – addicting, unrealistic, degrading, etc. without turning beet red and stuttering.


January 10th, 2013
2:36 pm

I personally don’t see why kids need ipads and cell phones.
My son will be able to use the computer for school work or for educational games only. I don’t see the need for kids to have their own computer or tablet. Cell phone, maybe once they are in high school.


January 11th, 2013
2:11 pm

@ xxx – How does having a TV in your bedroom express individualism? Passively watching dumbed-down shows, created by others, is not expressing much of anything.

Parents are giving kids way too many electronic gadgets at young ages. Too much screen time can be addicting and takes away time from the creative brain development that young kids need. Try adding up all the screen time your kids have for a few weeks and the total may shock you. For kids under 12, it does take away significantly from other developmental priorities.