Teen Social Media

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Social networking is now a major force in your teen’s daily social life.

Date: August, 2009

Common Sense Media’s recent poll reveals that social networking is moving communication from face to face to cyberspace - and that parents have a lot to learn when it comes to their children’s behaviors online. Read our special article, Social Networks and Teen Lives.

Find Out More: Press Release, Research Details

Read the Press Release >>
Download the Executive Summary (PDF)
Download the Full Poll Results – Digital Ethics Teens and Social Networking: A National Poll (PDF)
Download our Digital Citizenship White Paper (PDF)

What teens do online and what parents know about it

Key Findings:

Social networking sites are now a big part of a teen’s day:

• 51% check the sites more than once a day

• 22% check more than 10 times a day

Parents have a lot to learn about their children’s social networking behaviors:

• Just 4% say their children check social networking sites more than 10 times a day (22% of teens do)

• 23% of parents say their children check more than once a day (51% do)

• 12% of teens with Facebook or MySpace pages admit their parents don’t even know about the account

• Just 16% of parents think their child has shared information they would not normally share with the public (28% have)

For full poll results, see www.commonsensemedia.org/teen-social-media

What Teens Do Online: The Good Stuff

There’s a Good Side to Social Networking

The Internet is also helping teens support charities, volunteer, be creative, and even study.

Parents and children agree that the Internet is helping their academic performance in school:

• 75% of parents say the Internet helps their child’s academic performance

• 67% of teens say the Internet helps their academic performance

For full poll results, see www.commonsensemedia.org/teen-social-media

What should parents do?

Parents play a key role in helping kids learn the same sense of responsibility and self-respect in their online world as they do in their offline worlds. Read Tips for Social Networking for helpful tips such as:

Talk often about life in the digital world and what it means to be a safe, smart digital citizen: remind kids that online posts can last forever, and that potentially anyone can see them. If they wouldn’t put something up in the hallway in school, they shouldn’t post it on their pages.

Get yourself an account: see for yourself how your kids’ online world works – it’ll be easier for you to understand what they’re talking about.

Make sure your kids set privacy settings: they aren’t foolproof, but they’re important

Set rules for what they can and can’t say, post, and play online: the bottom line – posts with drugs, drinking, sexual posing or activity will come back to haunt them. If they wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, they shouldn’t post it.


It’s what our kids are living. Find out more about our Digital Citizenship Initiative.

Common Sense Media’s Digital Literacy and Citizenship in the 21st Century white paper proposes eight key initiatives for policy leaders and educators to ensure today’s students survive and thrive in our new digital universe.
Download PDF.


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