Survey Data


Internet Safety
Click image to view the complete Teen Online and Wireless Safety Survey

  • Teens these days are well connected, with strong majorities having their own email address and cell phone.
  • They spend substantial amounts of time online, doing a variety of activities, such as emailing, researching, playing games, and using social networking sites.


  • Though they are aware of the risks, many teens expose personal information about themselves online anyway.
  • Nearly three-quarters of teens have an online profile on a social networking site, where many teens have posted photos of themselves and their friends, among other personal information.


  • Meanwhile, there is definitely a conflict when it comes to safety. Teens appear aware and concerned about the risks of putting such personal information out in the open. Three in five teens say having personal information or photos on a public site is unsafe and one in four say they know someone who has had something bad happen to them because of information posted electronically.
  • Yet, half have posted photos of friends and three in five have posted photos of themselves.


  • Cyberbullying is widespread among today’s teens, with over one-third having experienced it, engaged in it, or know of friends who have who have done either.


  • While many teens who have bullied others have also been bullied themselves, the reasons for bullying vs. the reasons why those bullied think they are, varies dramatically.

    - Those who are bullied think bullies do so to be mean, for fun or entertainment, to show off to friends, or out of jealousy.

    - However, bullies usually justify their actions by saying they are getting back at someone or because the person deserved it.


  • Most teens think that bullying online is easier to get away with and to hide from their parents than bullying in person.
  • However, nearly half of those who have been bullied say the bully was caught – far more than the 28% of bullies who admit to having been caught.


  • A substantial amount of teens agree bullying online is worse than bullying in person. Two-thirds think it’s a serious problem (especially among those who are bullied) and even more think there should be stricter rules about online bullying, even though half already think that there are serious legal consequences for those who get caught.


  • About one in five teens have engaged in sexting – sending, receiving, or forwarding sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude photos through text message or email – and over a third know of a friend who has sent or received these kinds of messages. Most sext senders say these messages are most commonly sent to boyfriends/girlfriends because it’s asked of them or to have fun. Disturbingly however, about 1 in 10 sext senders say they have sent these messages to people they don’t even know.


  • The majority of teens think sending sexts of someone under 18 is wrong, and even half of those who have engaged in it agree, while 80% of teen sexters are under 18. Seven in 10 think people their age are too young to be sexting, but about half think they are old enough to decide for themselves if it’s all right.


  • Nearly all teens think that it’s dangerous to sext, including sexters themselves. Only a small portion of sexters have been caught in the act. About half of teens agree that adults overreact about sexting, and that when someone gets caught there are serious legal consequences.


  • What do parents really know about their children’s activities online? About 2 in 5 teens say they tell their parents very little or nothing about what they do and where they go online. While about three-quarters of teens say their parents have talked to them about online safety, only half of children say they are given some kind of limits or controls when they use the Internet. Among those who have controls, about one in four have figured out some way of getting around them.


  • Teens are left high and dry when it comes to going online on their cell phones. About 1 in 5 teens go online on a cell phone and 1 in 5 of those teens say their parents do not know they do this. The vast majority of teens whose parents know they go online through their cell phone say that they are not given any limits or controls – far fewer than are given limits on their desktop or laptop.

To view the complete Tweens and Internet Safety Study, please click here. (Adobe PDF)