Cybersafety Survey

Survey with AT&T

Developing Safe and Successful Mobile Device and Online Media Habits: A Survey of New York City Area Families and Recommendations for Parents, Caregivers, Communities and Companies


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Today’s children are online almost from birth, able to access entertainment and information and to connect with others to an extent unparalleled by any previous generation. From their earliest moments children are witnesses to, and participants in, a wide range of online experiences. This rapid increase in internet activity by young children is due in part to the easy access enabled by touchscreen internet-enabled tablets and phones.

More than eleven years after the debut of the iPhone, AT&T, together with No Bully and the Tyler Clementi Foundation, explore how the first generation of families with “digitally native” children have dealt with life online during the formative childhood years and teenage years. In a poll conducted between August and October 2018, teenagers, parents of teenagers, and a previously underreported demographic, millennial parents with children ages 3 to 12, shared valuable and often contradictory insights into their mobile device and online media habits.

The poll builds on research AT&T first conducted in 2016 about the online habits of teens and parents of teens in the New York City metropolitan area,1 which revealed an unsettling landscape: many teens—online for a good portion of their waking hours—were engaging in risky behavior and experiencing online bullying. Parents had little idea of the risks and dangers their children were facing.

Two years later, poll results show that teens’ risky experiences online have continued essentially unabated, as has their parents’ uneven knowledge of teens’ online lives. While millennial parents and caregivers grapple with their own mobile device habits they also are looking for tools to help them protect their children from online dangers.

This report recommends actions that parents, caregivers, communities and companies can take to protect their children and encourage them to grow up better equipped to safely and successfully use mobile devices and online media.