News Flash: Kids Lie To Their Parents - InformationWeek

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Commentary
8/10/2007
04:52 PM
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News Flash: Kids Lie To Their Parents

First, I will admit that I don't have kids myself. But I have friends with kids and kids as friends. And I remember what it was like to be a teenager myself. So my first reaction when I read the article Cyber Divide Widens: Kids Outsmarting Their Parents was: So what else is new?

First, I will admit that I don't have kids myself. But I have friends with kids and kids as friends. And I remember what it was like to be a teenager myself. So my first reaction when I read the article Cyber Divide Widens: Kids Outsmarting Their Parents was: So what else is new?A study by Harris Interactive, commissioned by Symantec (which, by the way, offers parental controls with its security software) shows, among other things, that children are online more than their parents think they are and that about a fourth of the children surveyed are getting away with (or, at least, say they're getting away with ) forbidden activities. Another survey by Webroot said that most kids between the ages of 11 and 17 aren't giving "accurate answers" about what they're doing online.

As I recall my own adolescence, I was a pretty good kid -- I got good grades, I didn't do drugs, I didn't get arrested -- but when I came home late after hanging out with my friends and my parents asked me where I'd been, there may have been times with I didn't give "accurate answers." In fact, if I had been questioned by a poll taker, and asked whether I smoked, drank, took drugs, or jumped off the Empire State Building, I might not have given "accurate answers," either. Why? Because I was a teenager, and teenagers get a kick out of putting one over on adults -- whether those adults are their parents, their teachers, or somebody from Webroot calling to find out what they do online.

Now, I'm not saying that it isn't important to know what kids are doing online, and whether they're getting themselves in trouble -- to the contrary. I'm a firm believer that parents should do what they can to educate their kids about safe online and offline behavior, and, where necessary, monitor what goes on and limit access depending on age and maturity.

But I also get a bit impatient of portentous announcements (by security software companies, poll takers, and other vendors) that -- gasp! -- kids aren't listening to their parents. Because, well, duh!

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