McAfee Survey Results: The Secret Lives of Teens Online

“The Secret Life of Teens,” is a new survey conducted online by Harris Interactive research for McAfee and provides insight into how youth ages 10-17 are using the net today. There’s lots of positive news in these results, but there are some concerning issues as well. Based on the findings, we aren’t doing a good enough job helping youth understand why some information should be private, and helping them learn the skills they need to keep information private. We haven’t done enough to teach kids how to respond to cyberbullying. And we need better dialog between parents and youth about what teens are doing online.

Key findings:

Sharing personal information

  • 69% of 13-17 year olds have updated their status on social networking sites to include their physical location
  • 28% of teens chat with people they don’t know in the offline world — 43 percent shared their first name
  • 24% percent shared their email address
  • 18% percent shared a personal photo of themselves
  • 12 %percent shared their cell phone number
  • Girls are more likely than boys to chat with people online that they don’t know in the offline world, (32% vs. 24%)
  • 13-15 year old girls (16 %) are more likely than boys the same age (7%) to have given a description of what they look like.


  • Nearly 50% of Teens Don’t Know What to Do if Cyberbullied
  • One-in-three teens knows someone who has had mean or hurtful information posted about them online
  • 14% of 13-17 year olds admit to having engaged in some form of cyberbullying behavior in 2010


  • 87% of teens go online somewhere other than at home
  • 54% access from their friends’ or relatives’ houses
  • 30% of teens access the Web through a phone and 21% through a video game system
  • 23% of kids go online anywhere with an open Wi-Fi signal

Teens Hide What They’re Doing Online

  • 42% don’t tell their parents what they do while they are online
  • 38% of teens close or minimize the browser when their parents enter the room
  • 32% of teens clear the browser history when they are done using the computer
  • 55% of 13-17 year olds hide what they do online from parents

Kids to Blame for Infected Family PC?

  • More than a quarter of teens (27%) accidentally allowed a virus, spyware, or other software to infect the family computer
  • Nearly half of teens (46%) of teens admit to downloading music or videos from a free service, which is much more likely to infect the family PC with everything from worms, viruses, ad-ware, spyware, or backdoors that allow people on the Internet to access the computer
  • 16% of 16-17 year old boys have downloaded x-rated content



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