The Internet has very quickly become an essential part of our lives. Whether we are looking for information, social activities, or games, the internet is often where we turn to satisfy our needs. But the Internet also presents real and significant dangers to those who are not on guard, and it is important for your teen to know how to stay safe online.
If you are worried about your teen’s internet habits, consider the following guidelines for online safety:
Never reveal your true identity
When signing up for social media or websites, it is always best to keep personal information as basic as possible. Your teen should know not to reveal personal information such as their full name, house address, street, neighborhood, or school name, as this information may be used to identify and target them.
This is one of the most important rules for them to follow online and its importance cannot be overstated.
Keep all usernames and passwords private
Be sure that your teenage child understands that sharing passwords can land them in hot water. The only other person who should have their login information for any social media account or website they frequent is you, the parent.
Stress that you will only use the information in emergency situations and be sure to explain the importance of regularly updating their accounts with secure passwords.
Alternatively, if your child is on the younger side, don’t give them password information at all. Create their social media accounts and maintain control so they can only access their profiles when you’re present.
Do not engage in threatening or hateful behavior
Many teens feel social pressures to behave a certain way, and this is just as true online as it is off. Remind teens that their actions online are just as real as they are at school, and encourage them to act in the same way as they would in real life. Hateful messages or rude comments can not only get them into trouble, but may also carry legal ramifications.
Never meet up with online friends alone
It is highly likely that your teen will at some point meet someone online that they are just dying to meet in person, but they should know the dangers and risks of doing so alone.
Encourage them to keep you in the loop and let you know who they are meeting online and what they are doing. If they decide to meet someone from online, be sure it is in a public place and go along with them even if you sit at another table and pretend not to know them. This way you can keep an eye on them without embarrassing them and you will be available should something untoward happen.
Never post risky or inappropriate photographs online
Teenagers have a way of not thinking very far ahead when they’re having fun, which can lead to all sorts of poor decisions. For this reason it’s important to be very strict about what content is and is not appropriate to post online. Stress that once an image is on the Internet, it’s all but impossible to get rid of. Encourage them to always think about the future before posting.
It may be seen as a nuisance to your teen, but closely monitoring their social accounts is the best thing you can do for their personal security in today’s day and age. For more helpful tips on how to keep your family safe, connect with Protection Plus!