When it comes to the common behaviours, beliefs and values of today’s kids, we are often hearing sweeping statements such as “kids of today…”, “”we didn’t have to….when I was young”, “they don’t know how good they’ve got it” etc etc
So what are kids really like today? Well in reality they are probably no different to the kids that I hung out with or my parents hung out with. What is different however, is the world in which they are growing up in. I am often reading and researching different statistics as well as interviewing and counselling children on their behaviours and thoughts and so I thought I would compile for you some of the major recurring themes of what the ‘average’ kid is doing and thinking today. (All stats are from my own surveys with teens and from McAfees recent survey)
They want to be private
They want to be private, but mostly they are not. Or at least they want privacy from ‘oldies’ but forget they are hanging out in a public playground that allows viewing by all ages.
- 95% don’t know all their Facebook friends.
- 75% of teens surveyed had between 500 and 1000 friends
- Most are only thinking of 5 to 10 people who they are aiming their status update at when they post, despite the majority having over 500 friends
They live in the moment
Often this is a good thing and we don’t want kids to fret about the past or worry too much about the future. With the advances of the online world however, looking beyond the immediate is something all kids need to start thinking about.
- 45% of teens don’t think about the repercussions of posts in terms of future employment or school and university entrance despite us knowing that most employers and school registrars will always ‘google’ potentials.
They’re not always having fun online
Despite our beliefs that kids want to be online all the time and they are having a great time online, this is not always the case.
- 62% of kids have experienced negativity online
- 1 in 4 have experienced bullying
Sometimes kids even actually enjoy the chance to get offline, which usually has to be enforced by others as they struggle to get off it on their own accord. Once they do they have been known to actually ‘enjoy the break’ and the feeling of being socially switched on.
Some of their parents are still naive
- Of the 62% of kids who had bad experiences, only 25% of their parents knew about these negative experiences
- 80% of parents say they have had discussions about online privacy but 66% of teens say their parents don’t know all the places they ‘hang out’ online.
- 37% have blocked posts from their parents on Facebook
- 85% of parents believe that cyber safety is something that needs addressing once kids are over 10, despite kids as young as 1 swiping iPads, a large majority of 6 and 7 year olds on social networking sites such as Moshi Monsters and Instagram and despite 11 being the average age a child sees online pornography.
- Many parents still believe Facebook is their greatest concern despite them having a multitude of other sites and apps where they are spending their time.
Whilst we know that averages and statistics are just that, it is interesting to take a glimpse of some of the findings that come from studies and observations of today’s kids. Do any of these findings surprise you, or do you think they represent some of the kids you know?