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A recent survey revealed that while over 25 percent of parents track their kids’ online activity.
USA TODAY

More than a quarter of parents use a device to track or monitor their kids’ online activity, finds a survey from Common Sense Media and Survey Monkey.

It’s far more than the percentage of teens — 15% — who think their parents are tracking or monitoring what they do online.

Whether all that snooping is effective seems unclear. Only 30% of teens who responded to the survey said their parents were “extremely” aware or “very aware” of what they do online. By comparison, 52% of parents believed they were very aware of their kids’ web activity.

“There’s a pretty big difference between parents who say they know and what kids say parents know,” said Michael Robb, director of research for Common Sense Media.

The online survey from Common Sense Media and SurveyMonkey was among a national sample of 884 teens ages 14-17 and 3,282 parents of teens.

Options for tracking kids’ online activities vary from tools for your router capable of tracking the websites users visit to apps letting you review your child’s smartphone call logs and text messages.

Devorah Heitner, author of the book Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) In Their Digital World, suggests mentoring kids about best online practices instead of monitoring. If parents do choose to monitor, they should talk with their kids first.

“You have to really ask yourself what you think you’re going to learn by covertly monitoring your kid,” she said. “What’s your plan of action if you see something that concerns you?”

As smartphones and social media continue to infiltrate our daily lives, questions have surfaced over when it’s too young for kids to participate.

More: Read this before you give your kid his or her…