A new survey conducted by AVG Technologies revealed that a solid majority of American parents admit that they have secretly accessed the Facebook profiles of their children.

Mothers are more likely to secretly log on than are fathers, but the survey shows that 60 percent of all U.S. parents admitted to doing so. The survey also revealed that one in four American parents connected with their children from their own social media profiles. The results indicate that parents in the U.S. are considerably more likely to engage in these activities than parents abroad.

Also, more than half of the American parents surveyed believe that the schools are not doing a good enough job of preparing their students for the online world. The Americans aren’t alone here, just under 50 percent of those surveyed worldwide said the same thing.

Just 20 percent of those surveyed suspect their children of accessing pornography on the Internet. Similarly, just over a fifth of parents suspect their children of ‘sexting,’ or sending sexually explicit text messages on their mobile phones. An overwhelming 80 percent responded that they don’t believe their children have ever sought out someone online to meet in real life.

“I have to think inappropriate or unsafe teen behavior on the web is more widespread than parents think, but isn’t that always the way?” AVG security evangelist, Tony Anscombe wrote in a blog that accompanies the study.

Some 40 percent of the parents surveyed are concerned that their children’s online activities could impact their future job prospects. 

Anscombe says he thinks that it’s a good idea for parents to secretly, or not-so-secretly monitor their children’s social media accounts. He admits to monitoring his own son’s social media profiles, albeit openly and only when he has “good reason to do so.”

The study surveyed 4,400 parents with 14-17 year old children in 11 countries.

Categories: Mobile Security, Social Engineering