Seven out of ten parents snoop on kids’ activity online

The vast majority of parents monitor their kids’ social networking accounts regularly, according to a survey from privacy group Truste.

The study found that 72 percent check their kids’ activity regularly, with 35 percent of these looking every day. Ten percent said they were able to access their childrens’ accounts secretly – the report doesn’t say how – and 18 percent said they’d been told off or otherwise embarassed by their parents online.

“’s survey reinforces what we’re seeing – that parents and teens share a keen interest in teen privacy in social network sites, that most teens are acting on those privacy interests, and that parents are, at the same time acknowledging that and wisely seeing the need to support teens’ responsible use with some monitoring,” comments Anne Collier, co-director of

“It’s great to see that parents aren’t projecting all the news coverage of extreme cases onto their own teens’ online experiences, but we all know, too, that family discussion and online privacy education need to continue.”

However, the survey also found that four out of five teens use privacy settings at some point to hide content from certain friends and/or their parents.

And 68 percent said they have at some time accepted friend invitations from people they don’t know, with eight percent accepting anyone that asks.

“The data clearly shows that parents place the utmost importance on their teens’ online privacy and control of their personal information,” says Fran Maier, president and executive chair at Truste.

“But protecting the privacy of teens on social networks is not easy as they can be technically adept, have strong motivations to connect widely, and don’t yet have the maturity to look out for their long term interests.”

Nearly nine out of ten of parents want default privacy settings on all teen accounts to limit the amount of information that’s public and to restrict access from advertisers and applications, she said.