Two Thirds of Parents Secretly Check Child’s Social Media Account

New research from the UK’s most used money saving brand suggests that two thirds of parents have checked their child/children’s social media accounts without them knowing, despite three fifths of these parents confessing that their offspring would be ‘annoyed’ if they found out.

According to a study from the UK’s most popular money saving brand, it seems that teenagers don’t have as much privacy as they might think, as two thirds of parents admit to checking their children’s social media accounts without their knowledge.

The study, conducted by www.vouchercloud.com, polled 2,105 UK parents all with children aged between 13 and 16 as part of ongoing research into household relationships and social media usage.

Respondents to the study were initially asked ‘Does/do your child/children use social media?’ to which the majority, 81%, said that ‘yes’ they did. The remaining 19% either said that their child/children didn’t use it or that they were unaware of it if they did. When asked if their child/children had their own personal email address, 85% of the parents said that they did.

The most popular forms of social media were then looked at by the study, as parents were asked to select which platforms their children had accounts or profiles on (selecting more than one answer if necessary). This revealed that 73% of the children that used social media were on Facebook, making it the most popular site, whilst 56% were on Twitter. A further 49% used Instagram.

The level of privacy that was afforded to children was then established, as the relevant parents were asked ‘Do you know the passwords to either your children’s personal email account or any of their social media accounts?’. 45% of the parentsclaimed to know their child/children’s email password, whilst 36% knew their social media login details for at least one of their profiles.

The respondents who knew some login details were then asked ‘Do you ever sign in to check on their account(s) without them knowing?’ to which 55% admitted to having done so at least once in the past. 31% confessed to doing so ‘on a regular basis’. Of all the respondents whose children used social media, including those parents that didn’t know passwords, 67% said that they searched for their children’s profiles online to monitor them ‘anonymously’.

Those respondents who did so were asked ‘Why do you check their accounts?’ which revealed ‘fears for their safety’ to be the prime motivator, with 61% agreeing. A further 30% said that they did so simply because they wanted to know what their children were up to as they ‘didn’t tell them anything’.

The potential reaction to this ‘social media snooping’ was then looked at, as the study asked ‘Would your child/children be annoyed if they found out that you checked up on their social media or email accounts?’ The majority, 58%, said that ‘yes’ they probably would. However, the remaining 42% said that they believed their child/children would ‘understand’ why.

Those who did admit to checking their child or children’s social media or email accounts were asked ‘Have you ever found anything incriminating or something that you disapproved of by doing this?’ to which 21% said ‘yes’, they had. When asked if they confronted their child/children about it, 53% said that they did, whilst the remaining 47% said that they ‘turned a blind eye’ despite disapproving.

Those parents who confronted their child/children were asked ‘Did you confess that you’d checked up on their social media or email account(s)?’ to which 38% said ‘yes’, but the majority, 62%, made out that they’d found out ‘by other means’.

Matthew Wood of vouchercloud made the following comment:

“Today’s world can often come across as a sinister place to parents. Media coverage of social media related nightmares is widespread, so it’s no surprise that they’re wary of what their children are up to. Are they sexting? Are they talking to strangers online? It seems that many parents think the only way to find out is via stealth.”

He continued:

“It’s sad to see that some parents feel the only way they can assess what their children are up to is via a sly look at their social media. Is this indicative of the modern world? This might be the case, but teenagers have always been well known for their secretive ways, so perhaps parents shouldn’t take it to heart too much and should just accept it’s one of those phases.”