Are you aware of what your teens are getting up to online and do you know how best to help them should they be in trouble?
As your children reach their teenage years, the internet will more than likely become a part of their daily lives. Teenagers very quickly catch onto new technology and they use it to communicate with their peers through social media platforms and messaging apps. They often have instant access to smartphones and tablets and these devices enable them access to the internet and an open access to a wide range of social media sites, movies and online gaming.
Keeping your Teen safe online starts at home! Education, education, education!
As a parent it is your responsibility to make yourself aware of what your teens are doing online and to know how you can help them should they land themselves in compromising situations.
We have drafted a checklist for you of the things you should do and look out for once your teens become active internet users:
Always keep intrigued by what your teen is doing online, which apps they are downloading and games they have discovered. Don’t be afraid to communicate about issues like sexting, pornography and cyberbullying, as all parties will benefit in the long run by the subjects being out in the open. You want to create an open line of communication with your child so that you become their safe place should they be in trouble.
Talk About The Importance Of A Positive Online Reputation
Regularly remind your teen that anything they share/upload, email or message will stay on the internet forever, it is therefore imperative that their online presence be as, if not more, reputable than their offline presence. A good goal would be to encourage them to only post things that they wouldn’t mind you, their educators or a future manager seeing. Get them to consider making a positive digital footprint.
Help Them Set Up Privacy Settings
Talk them through the process and explain that having privacy settings set up properly will avoid online stalking and strangers reaching out to them. When they have their timelines protected only their friends can see what they post and only they can be tagged in photos by people they know and are friends with on their social platforms. Explain the dangers of third party apps having access to camera, microphone and contact lists etc.
Show your children that you can trust them by giving them a little space to explore the internet on their own so they can download applications, music and movies for themselves, from websites that you both agree to together. Encourage them to always ask if they are unsure and talk through your reservations or approval.
Stay Safe And Protected While Out And About
Inform your children about the use of public open Wi-Fi which does not have restrictions and privacy settings. Using it could put their device at risk of being hacked and personal data stolen.
Be A Responsible Parent
Engage in conversations with your teenagers about being responsible when they’re on the online. Children often feel they can make statements online that they wouldn’t express eye to eye. Instruct them to consistently have regard for themselves as well as other people on the online.
The key to guidance with regards to online safety is to keep an open line of communication with your child.