The study found that parents underestimate how often their children engage in risky online behavior, like cyberbullying and viewing pornography.
Sahara Byrne, Sherri Jean Katz, Theodore Lee (Cornell University), Daniel Linz (University of California - Berkeley), and Mary Mcllrath (C+R Research) surveyed 465 parent-child pairs on their children's online behavior.
They found that parents underestimate how often their child is a victim or perpetrator of cyberbullying, exposed to sexual imagery, and approached by strangers online.
The disparity between these behaviors and a parent's perception of the behavior increased when the parent executed a permissive style of parenting.
The study found that while 30 percent of youths admit to having been cyberbullied, only slightly higher than 10 percent of their parents reported that they knew.
About 15 percent of the youths in the study admitted to cyberbullying others; under 5 percent of those parents were aware.
The study also suggested that parents of younger teens - those who believe their child is smarter than others online, or who are not able to monitor their teen's internet use - are more likely to be unaware that their child has been cyberbullied.
The study is published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.