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Teens Still Engaging In Risky Behavior On Social Networks, Study Finds

Eighty-two percent of parents say they wish they could delete information from their teens' accounts
Teens and parents are becoming more savvy about the use and dangers of social networks, but some teens are still taking unnecessary chances with their privacy, according to a study published today.

According to a survey of 2,000 parents and teens, which was sponsored by TRUSTe and conducted by Lightspeed Research, there still are some red flags in the way teens use social networking sites.

Eighteen percent of teens said they have been embarrassed or disciplined as a result of a posting, the survey says, and 80 percent have used privacy settings at some point to hide content from certain friends and/or parents. Sixty-eight percent of teens surveyed said they have at some time accepted friend invites from people they didn't know, with 8 percent accepting all, 34 percent accepting some, and 26 percent accepting rarely.

Meanwhile, 82 percent of parents said they would like to delete information from their teens' accounts or otherwise exert more control, according to the survey.

Seventy-two percent of parents said they monitor their teens' accounts, with 50 percent of these parents monitoring weekly, 35 percent daily, and 10 percent monthly. Eighty-four percent of parents are accurate in understanding the amount of time their teen spends on social networks and generally have a good understanding of the activities they are engaged in online.

Facebook clearly dominates as the leading social networking site, with 95 percent of parents and 90 percent of teens with a social networking account. Within households where both the adult and teen reported Facebook accounts, one-third of teens surveyed said they helped open and set up the account for one or both of their parents, and most of those teens are friends with their parents, with more girls friending parents than boys.

The majority of parents and teens said they feel confident about the safeguards they have in place for their Facebook accounts, although 89 percent of parents want default privacy settings on all teen accounts to limit the amount of information that is public and to restrict advertiser and application access to their teens' information. Parents also are looking for more direct ways to control their teens' information, and they would also like greater control overall, the study says.

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