Infographic: Over half of online teens share personal information with strangers

By Dan Taylor from London, UK (Worst-case scenario) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

One of the scariest things as a parent is to understand how to prepare my kids for their digital future. It is beyond anything that I experienced growing up. Our babysitter just shared a story of how her friends were being cyberbullied on Instagram, and as a parent I surrendered all objectivity in deference to my future fears.

An infographic like this really substantiates the need to have a second “talk” with kids about digital media and technology. It was a shock to me to read some of these statistics.

I’m interested to know your thoughts about this and of the future.


By Dan Taylor from London, UK (Worst-case scenario) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Jim Dougherty

Jim Dougherty

Writer and chief of miscellany at
I'm the guy that wrote the article you just read. Sorry for the typos.


  1. says

    45% of companies still don’t have a social media policy in place? Ugh. The larger the company, the scarier this is…

    On the other side – as a parent of two teens, I put my IT skills to play constantly sleuthing out what my kids are up to online. They are more savvy online than their parents, often, and take full advantage of that.

    Take away their phone? They put talk apps on their iPod. Take way their ipod? They borrow a friend’s. Close down their Facebook page? They open one under a pseudonym or nickname. Sneaky lil devils…

    I learned the hard way that there is very little you can do as a parent when cyber-bullying becomes a reality. I wish Facebook would just find a way to shut it down for anyone under 18, frankly!! Their naivete scares me and we all seem to learn the hard way at that age.

  2. jimdougherty says

    Thanks Carrie – your kids are so smart! I appreciate your insight – my wife and I were just talking about bullying (albeit it about my three year old), and it makes you want to keep them in a bubble. I’m going to keep in touch – ten years from now I will need your assurance that I will survive my daughter’s teenage years! :)

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments!

  3. says

    Assuming I survive it, too! LOL

    I think teens are ALL that smart now. For example, my son has mastered the use of YouTube videos for game and phone hacks, free music, software downloads, you name it. He keeps me on my toes, that’s for sure. I don’t think this is unique to him, either. Since constantly changing technology is all they know, they are far more nimble than we are. Food for thought…

    Too bad we don’t have collective intelligence, where we keep the knowledge of earlier generations and just keep building on it. Just think how diabolical we could be as parents! Muahaha…

  4. says

    Hi carrie, Hi Jim,

    Speaking about kids, I wonder how big a part schools can play in educating.

    Bullying and online safety are really big topics here in the public schools beginning in 4th grade (I live in Switzerland). They seem to have a fairly solid program that educates kids about networks and platforms, pros and cons, etc. Apparently this is a country wide program which is impressive.

    My daughter and her friends love to check out YouTube, etc, but seem to be in no hurry whatsoever to be on FB, or other platforms.

    In fact, when I mentioned setting up a gmail account for my daughter a couple of weeks ago she said “no way mom, I’m not the right age yet”. I kind of laughed ( to myself of course because I never thought she would say that) She said that she didn’t want me to lie and that perhaps when she is 13 maybe she’ll be ready, but maybe not. And further more, she doesn’t like that gmail automatically means that you have a profile on G+… does she HAVE to have a gmail account?

    I was so surprised. This has all been spoken about in school. We speak about it here at home (what it means to be connected today) but not nearly as well as they are doing in school!

  5. jimdougherty says

    That’s a fantastic insight, Kelly. I think the extent that we educate kids on anything correlates with them making better decisions on those topics. I’d be interested to know if cyberbullying is less prevalent in Switzerland than in the US, because I don’t believe there is any widespread education here. Thank you for your comment!

  6. jimdougherty says

    It’s a creative commons picture, non-sequitur to the piece of a man getting run over by a steamroller.

  7. says

    I have to say that there is a disconnect between the anti-bullying talk and the reality – at least in Arizona and our school districts. My daughter was bullied in middle school, then it turned into a very ugly stalking scenario. The school, the police, cell phone companies, I ran into road blocks everywhere I turned. It was incredibly frustrating.

    Bullies even congregate in school drop-off zones to terrorize kids, but school officials miss the signs and don’t know what to look for. They expect a terrorized kid to point the finger, which they won’t do because it makes things so much worse than if they just stay silent – and the entire system is built on this.

    Much of it is all talk, without real intervention.

    Kids are SMART. They know how to work the digital tools at their disposal because it’s their entire universe (what teen doesn’t have a smart phone or iPod?) and, as parents, most of us are not keeping up with their level of knowledge so it becomes far too easy. Our ignorance hurts our children. We have to be smarter than them.

    With tools like Facebook chat and talk/chat apps at their disposal, they can cyber bully without ever leaving a trace.

    Plus, the amount of bashing (and pressure to be perfect) on Facebook among teens is mind boggling. Why even let your children be exposed to that?

    Our own personal situation made me seriously question WHY we aren’t doing more about protecting our children online as a society. It’s simply criminal. One of these days, I predict a major shake-up in this area, resulting in governmental regulations being put in place that are looooong over due.

    Please don’t be in a hurry to let children become active on social media or email, then monitor, monitor, monitor! PROTECT THEM on every level.

    Don’t treat it casually and assume connectivity is harmless.

    I wonder how many parents hand their kids iPads to play with (even kindergarteners!) and never even think about putting parental controls on it?

    Pardon my rant! I just feel that our collective blindness as parents has such a high cost and it shapes our children whether we pay attention or not. I think most parents just don’t understand the significance of it until it comes back to bite them – as it did with me.

  8. jimdougherty says

    Thanks Carrie – I think it’s a very relevant rant. We do usher our digital natives online early. I was just lamenting that my two-year old deleted gmail from my iPad again.

    We have a family friend whose teenager committed suicide after being cyberbullied, so I don’t consider it an overreaction at all to question the impact of these foreign tools and technologies on the psychology of kids at a vulnerable period in their lives.

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