GOOCHLAND (WRIC) - A new study says teenagers are spending more time online every day.
Barbara Taylor has four kids -- ages 16 to 21.
This Goochland mom is also a lifeguard and fitness instructor, so she can't be with them 24/7 but stresses online safety.
"Being here in a small community, if you put on Facebook ‘my name is Mary and I go to Goochland and I'm a junior,' it doesn't take very much to figure out how to get to you."
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children teamed up with Cox Communications for this study. It found teens in Virginia are spending about five and a half hours online every day with 97 percent using their smartphones.
Half received a personal message on email or social media from someone they didn't know.
56 percent met someone they first contacted online.
Nearly two out of three teens in Virginia hide Internet activity from their parents.
"I think you really need to be careful what you put to be public and how you talk to people and make conversation with strangers," Taylor says.
Taylor says she's not surprised by the study's findings, so she'll continue talking with her sons and daughters about their online habits and hopes other parents do too.
With so many missing kids cases linked to Internet prowlers, Taylor knows teens can't be too careful.
"What you say could come back to get you one day," she says.
This study also found that 69 percent of Virginia parents are talking with their kids about safe online practices. Less than 25 percent did when the survey first started in 2005.
Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
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