US Teens are Up to No Good Online Compared to European Teens – McAfee Study Reveals

by Robert Siciliano

Multiple Devices

Teens are spending more and more time online these days and while the Internet offers a variety of benefits it can also serve as a dangerous space –and not just in America. According to McAfee’s Exploring the Digital Divide study that examines teen online behavior, teens oversees and in the US are continually finding ways to hide their online activity from their parents and are vulnerable to committing such acts as cheating and cyber bullying.

Specifically, the study has uncovered that US teens access inappropriate content online, cheat using their mobile devices, and know how to hide what they do from their parents online more than teens do in European countries including the UK, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, and France.

Key Findings from the Study include:

Nude Images and Pornography: 32% of US teens admit to intentionally searching for nude images or pornography online when asked. 25% of UK teens, 29.5% of Spanish teens, 24.5% of Dutch teens, 23.5% of Italian teens, 27% of German teens and 11.5% of French teens confess that they actively seek out sexual content online.

Cheating on Mobile Devices: 16% of US teens admitted to cheating on a test using a mobile phone when asked. 3% of UK teens, 9.5% of Spanish and Dutch teens, 13% of Italian teens, 14.5% of German teens and 3.5% of French teens have also admitted to cheating using their mobile devices.

Knowing How to Hide Online Activity from their Parents: 33% of US teens strongly agree that they know how to hide their online activity from their parents. 27% of UK teens, 28.5% of Spanish teens, 24% of Dutch and Italian teens, 28.5% of German teens, and 21% of French teens also strongly agree that they are confident in hiding their online behavior from their parents.

Cyber Bullying: Cyber bullying is more consistent both oversees and in the U.S. Teens that have bullied online:

  • US: 9%
  • UK: 4.5%
  • Spain: 2.5%
  • Netherlands: 9.5%
  • Italy: 9%
  • Germany: 6%
  • France: 4%

Teens that witnessed cruel behavior online and joined in on the mean behavior:

  • US: 6%
  • UK: 10%
  • Spain: 3.8%
  • Netherlands: 7.4%
  • Italy: 3.4%
  • Germany: 6%
  • France: 2.3%

Much of this should come as no surprise, but some of it is alarming. Parents, you must stay in-the-know. Since your teens have grown up in an online world, they may be more online savvy than their parents, but you can’t give up. You must challenge yourselves to become familiar with the complexities of the teen online universe and stay educated on the various devices your teens are using to go online.


Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked!  (Disclosures)