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Parents spy on their kids online more than kids think

Commentary: A new survey shows that many parents use tracking technology or other means to keep tabs on their kids' online activity.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Girl looking at her computer

Guess what? Your mom knows.

Getty Images

Hey, kids. 

You think your parents aren't very smart, don't you?

You know far more about technology than they do. And, well, they couldn't snap a chat if they tried, right?

A new survey, released Wednesday, might make you choke on your Whoppers.

Conducted by Common Sense Media and Survey Monkey, this little piece of research talked to 884 teens between 14 and 17. It also heard whispers from 3,282 parents of teens.

The two sides don't always have accurate impressions of each other.

Twenty-six percent of parents are outright spies. They say they use tracking or other monitoring technology to make sure they know what their kids are doing online.

A mere 15 percent of kids thought this was the case.

Meanwhile, 52 percent of parents say they're "very" or "extremely" sure they know exactly what their kids are doing online. Only 30 percent of kids believe this is the case.

So which side is smarter? It's hard to know. It could be that one side or the other is simply more delusional.

Still, the parents admit they're most concerned about Snapchat. At least, 29 percent of them are.

This is likely because they have no idea how it works -- although Evan Spiegel, CEO of parent company Snap, says he's going to make it easier.

I fear, though, that too many parents aren't so clever. A full 20 percent insist they aren't concerned about any apps or websites that their kids might use.

That makes me wonder whether the parent-kid dynamic has really changed all that much. 

When I was a kid, I did a lot things my parents had no idea of. I remain convinced it's the same situation for today's teens.

Hey, parents, some of your kids really can see you coming.

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