We often read about how the youth are spending their days attached to their digital devices, checking into their social networking sites, answering their text messages, taking selfies at a snap-a-second, or simply listening to their music through their earbuds — but according to the recent Pew Research Study, adults are catching up.
In this recent study, 52 percent of adults are actually using at least two social media networking sites, which is a significant increase from 2013 at 42 percent.
Facebook still leads for the grown-up user, however adults are expanding their digital skills into other cyber-arenas such as Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.
In reality, outside of their cyber-life, this is all great news since we need adults to fully understand the digital world in order to keep up with today’s technology, especially if they are a parent.
Along with the rising numbers of adults using social media has come increased concern about online bullies. Cyberbullying now comes in as a primary concern for parents, topping both teen pregnancy and substance abuse, according to another recent survey.
Primus partnered with PREVnet that conducted a survey that revealed 48 percent of parents are worried about cyberbullying; this leads the list of concerns that also includes teen pregnancy (44 percent), drug use (40 percent), and alcohol use (38 percent).
In reviewing both of these studies, I found it interesting that more grown-ups (parents) are now using social media and yet some are not heeding the advice about online safety that they should be teaching their children, such as oversharing information online.
In the Primus/PREVnet survey, one in five parents admitted to sharing intimate photos and/or messages online or via text, yet 36 percent claim to be worried about their child’s online image and what their children are posting without their consent.
If parents are oversharing or posting inappropriate content or photos, we have to take into consideration that this is not only about their children seeing them — it is about others, both youth and adults, all over the Internet viewing them.
The Primus/PREVnet survey also stated that nearly one in five parents know their underage children have Facebook accounts, despite knowing the age requirement is 13 years old. Parents having concerns about online bullying is legitimate, but it can be reduced by heeding the age requirements and following some basic digital guidelines that are laid out by social networks in their privacy policies.
These surveys are telling us that social media use is growing for all ages, harassment is booming right along with it, and parents are concerned.