Kids Are Revealing What Their Parents Don't Know About Social Media & It's Disturbing

what parents don't know about kids social media
Skipper Coates/Facebook

Today's moms and dads are forced to tackle parenting in the often troubling age of social media. With tech constantly changing, so many parents are left in the dark about what our kids are really doing online. But an exercise created by a clever teacher has forced kids to reveal their deepest social media secrets -- and the results are pretty shocking.

  • Teacher Skipper Coates asked her ninth grade students to finish the sentence, "What my parents don't know about social media is ..."

    what parents don't know about kids social media
    Skipper Coates/Facebook

    On Facebook, Coates revealed that out of the 85 students she questioned, only five said they didn't have any social media accounts. The vast majority of them revealed that they used things like Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat way more often than their parents realize. 

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  • There was plenty of revealing talk about sex and drugs.

    Whether that means using social media to trade nude photos or buy and sell drugs, the kids made it perfectly clear that these things are always accessible to them if they "follow" the right people.

  • Some of the kids got exceptionally descriptive about the things they do online.

    One student claimed to "swear too much and talk sh*t" and admitted to having received nude photos online from boys whom he or she doesn't know. While sexting definitely isn't a new concept to most parents, it has been revealed that somewhere between 7 and 28 percent of teenagers engage in sexting of some form. Some experts have even suggested that sending and receiving nude photos may be the "new normal" of adolescent sexual development. 

  • A few students even admitted to having secret social media accounts their parents don't know about.

    Even if you believe you have access to all your kids' social media accounts -- or you think they have none -- they have ways of getting around us. Secret accounts under different names, "fake" Instagrams -- some even go so far as to use their friends' devices to log in.

  • They also have relationships with strangers online that their folks are unaware of.

    Kids are clearly ignoring all those "stranger danger" talks we keep giving them.

  • These admissions were definitely shocking, but they were also eye-opening for a lot of parents.

    skipper coates facebook comment
  • There were also some who believe parents who don't already know these things are just being willfully ignorant.

    skipper coates facebook comment
  • The information revealed by these kids is enough to make most moms and dads paranoid, but it's proof of how much we need to be engaged.

    skipper coates facebook comment

    Social media is endless and far-reaching, and there doesn't always seem to be a way to control our kids' use of it. But complete control may not be the answer, anyway. We know what happens when we try to keep our kids from stuff they really want; they only go after it harder and get a lot better at keeping us at arm's length.

    The key to keeping our kids safe and smart while using social media lies in trust, education, and communication. Experts have discovered that social media makes teenagers feel less lonely, helps them express themselves emotionally and creatively, and teaches them a lot about human empathy. 

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    But that doesn't mean it isn't also dangerous, and we should do everything we can to combat that. Choosing to wait to give your kids smartphones, putting boundaries on the amount of time they spend online, and even making certain social media sites off-limits are all great ideas. We need to be open with kids about online safety, the dangers of risky behavior, and the harm they can cause themselves and others. No matter how much we wish it would sometimes, social media definitely isn't going away, which means we have to do what parents do best -- adapt. 

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