Virginia teens spend one-third of waking hours online, study shows

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Virginia teens are spending more time online, but the majority of parents aren’t using parent control software, according to survey by Cox Communications and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The survey, which included more than 1,300 teens in 13 states including Virginia, found that the average Virginia teenager spends five-and-a-half hours online each day. Almost all — 97 percent — had accessed the Internet from a mobile device, which makes it harder for parents to monitor their activity.

Fifty percent of teens surveyed said they had received a personal message, such as an email or Facebook message, from someone they didn’t know. Sixteen percent of Virginia teens said will respond to the message, while 76 percent ignore them.

The survey also found that 56 percent of teenagers had met someone that they first contacted online, and 61 percent of teens have taken measures to hide their Internet activity.

The survey found, however, that an increasing number of parents are talking to their teens about online safety. Sixty-nine percent of parents in Virginia  said they have talked to their teens about safety on the Internet within the past year. When Cox and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children started the survey in 2005, less than 25 percent of parents had talked to their parents about online safety.

Other findings on Virginia teenagers' online usage show:

-Teens spend two-and-a-half hours playing online games on an average day, 61 percent of teens interact with other gamers online
-96 percent of teens check social media accounts at least a few times a week.
-73 percent of teens have posted photos of themselves or family and friends online.
-20 percent of teens have posted their cell phones online

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