More than three-quarters (78 percent) of parents with teenagers say their teens use social networking sites, and nearly nine in ten (88 percent) of these parents say they have talked to their teens about how they can protect their privacy online, according to a new Common Sense Media|SurveyMonkey poll.
Both parents and teens have taken steps to address their privacy. About eight in 10 teens (79 percent) have changed their privacy settings on a social networking site to limit what they share with others. Slightly more parents (86 percent) say they have done the same for their own privacy settings.
Teens are less likely than parents to be concerned about matters of privacy and disclosure on social media. While most agree that it is at least “moderately” important for social networking sites to clearly label what information they are collecting and how it will be used (94 percent of parents, 91 percent of teens), teens are less likely to say it is “extremely” important (41 percent vs. 58 percent).
Similarly, teens are less likely than parents (69 percent vs. 77 percent) to say it is “extremely” important for social networking sites to ask for permission before selling or sharing users’ personal information. Still, 97 percent of parents and 93 percent of teens agree that this is at least “moderately” important.
Teens and parents agree that these sites are not good at explaining what they do with user’s information. More than a third (36 percent) of teenagers agree that social networking sites do a good job explaining what they do with users’ data, and nearly the same proportion (34 percent) disagree. Parents of teens are much more negative, with more than twice as many (54 percent) saying that social networking sites and apps don’t do a good job explaining what they do with users’ data as those who say they do a good job (25 percent).
When asked about ad targeting, 82 percent of parents are at least “moderately” worried that social networking sites use their data to allow advertisers to target them with ads, with 35 percent saying they are “extremely” worried about this practice. Concern is not quite as high among teens; 68 percent say they are at least “moderately” worried about this, with just 14 percent saying they are “extremely” worried.
Teens and parents of teens have little overlap in their social networking habits in general. More than three quarters (78 percent) of parents use Facebook, compared with just 37 percent of teens. By contrast, nearly three quarters of teens use Instagram (74 percent) and Snapchat (73 percent), compared with just 41 percent and 27 percent, respectively, of parents.