The Essential Teen Internet Safety Guide

Keeping Your Teen Safe on the Internet


Just a few years ago, the Internet was connected to stationary desktops, which made monitoring kids' activity on the web relatively easy. But now, teens have access to always-on Internet connections that are tucked into their back pockets and move with them wherever they go. Keeping a watchful eye on your teen's Internet use is no longer as easy as it once was.

In this guide, we'll give you tips, techniques and advice about how to protect your teen from a whole host of dangers, including fraud and identity theft. This guide will help you teach your teen safe social media behavior and help him or her avoid cyberbullying. Plus, you'll discover the best ways to safeguard your teen from the threats posed by email, instant messenger, and chat rooms.

Teen Internet
Safety Statistics


According to the Pew Internet Project's 2013 research on teens, 95% of teens (ages 12-17) use the Internet. Of course, teens often use the Internet for academic research, and in short doses it can be a healthy source of entertainment. But a number of alarming statistics prove it's also a dangerous place.

Teens say their parents, more than anyone else, influence what they think is appropriate online behavior. Unfortunately, 18% of teens say they haven't talked with anyone about good online behavior. Read these eye-opening statistics and share them with other parents and educators. You may even consider selecting a few to talk to your teen about, so you can have the important conversation about Internet safety.

Sharing Information Online


When it comes to sharing information online, teens are more willing to do so than most other age groups. That makes them vulnerable to a host of dangers, from identity theft to abduction.

The Family Online Safety Institute released a Teen Identity Theft report that reveals 75% of teens make their full name available online. Nearly 70% have at least one photo online, and roughly half of them post their date of birth. 48% of teens surveyed said the name of their school is online, and 47% said their email address could be found on the Web.

A shocking 65 % of online sex offenders gained home and school information about their victim using the victim's social networking site. A whopping 82% of online sex offenders used social media information to discover the child's likes and dislikes.

Only 7% of U.S. parents are concerned about cyberbullying. However, more than one third of teenagers have been the target of cyberbullying, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Survey on cyberbullying.

The Pew Research Center reports that almost 90% of teens surveyed said they have witnessed someone be mean or cruel to another person using social media. The same report reveals 15% of those surveyed said they have been the victim of mean or cruel social media.


The Family Online Safety Institute released a Teen Identity Theft report that reveals 75% of teens make their full name available online. Nearly 70% have at least one photo online, and roughly half of them post their date of birth. 48% of teens surveyed said the name of their school is online, and 47% said their email address could be found on the Web.

A shocking 65 % of online sex offenders gained home and school information about their victim using the victim's social networking site. A whopping 82% of online sex offenders used social media information to discover the child's likes and dislikes.

Only 7% of U.S. parents are concerned about cyberbullying. However, more than one third of teenagers have been the target of cyberbullying, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Survey on cyberbullying.

The Pew Research Center reports that almost 90% of teens surveyed said they have witnessed someone be mean or cruel to another person using social media. The same report reveals 15% of those surveyed said they have been the victim of mean or cruel social media.


Using Social Media Safely


Criminals use information teens post on social media to steal identities and make sexual advances, while teens are cyberbullying, teasing, and even exposing risqué images of their social media cohorts. Now is the time to have an important conversation with your teen about social media, including what's appropriate and how they can protect themselves online. Use these six tips to get started.

Social Media Tips for Parents


  1. Set Boundaries
  2. Avoid Precarious Posting
  3. Accept Friend Requests Wisely
  4. Beef up Security Settings
  5. Ban Provocative Images
  6. Remember, You Can't Take it Back

Talk with your teen about what you believe is appropriate social media behavior and set well-defined boundaries about what is acceptable to post on social media sites and what isn't.

Schools and employers are looking at students' social media pages and a number of wild party posts could mean your teen gets passed over for a scholarship or job. Your teen should go through their profile and delete anything that's too personal, potentially embarrassing, or might look bad to schools or employers.

Remind your teen that accepting friend requests from people they don't know is dangerous. That person could be a sexual predator, an identity thief, or someone seeking revenge by destroying your teen's reputation.

Sit down with your teen and help them beef up their social media account security settings, so only those he or she allows can view their social media profiles.

Do not allow your teen to post pictures that invite trouble and have negative consequences. Before your teen posts a comment, picture, or video, suggest they put it to the test by asking "Would I want my parents/grandparents/teachers/employers to see this?" If the answer is "no," they shouldn't post it.

Unfortunately, when your teen posts to social media, everyone online can potentially use their comments, pictures, and videos in any way they please. A note your teen meant for a girlfriend or a picture intended for a boyfriend can go viral with just a few clicks. You've never read a news story about someone who wished they posted a comment or image on Facebook, but didn't. But the news is swarming with stories of teens (and adults) suffering serious consequences as a result of what they posted to social media.

Prevent Cyberbullying


Despite a growing awareness of cyberbullying, it remains frighteningly common among teens. In fact, BullyingStatstics.org reports that more than 50% of teens have been the victim of online bullying, and more than 1 in 3 young people have been the target of a Cyberthreat. Review these cyberbullying prevention techniques with your teen.

  • Tell the Cyberbully to stop Although it's probably obvious to the perpetrator that their contact is unwanted, it's still important your teen tell the bully to stop.
  • Two wrongs don't make a right Be sure your teen knows you won't stand for cyberbullying under any circumstances, even if it's in retaliation against a bully.
  • Save the evidence Hopefully, telling the cyberbully to stop will put an end to your teen's trouble. But, in case it worsens, it's a good idea to save all cyberbullying contacts. Capture everything with screen shots.
  • Consider using blocking features Nearly every social media network and email platform offers a blocking feature. Your teen can block the cyberbully and report them to the service the bully is using to harass them.

Email, IM, and Chat room safety


Results from a study conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project confirms that teens are more likely to use text messaging than email or instant messaging (IM) to chat with friends. But these outlets, along with chat rooms, are still a valid source of worry for parents.

10 Rules for staying safe online

  1. 1. Never give out personal information
  2. 2. Keep your password protected at all times
  3. 3. Don't share quiz results
  4. 4. Don't trust people in chat rooms
  5. 5. Keep your friends and family close
  6. 6. Don't meet in person
  7. 7. You don't have to respond
  8. 8. Only open emails from people you know
  9. 9. Have parents check chat rooms first
  10. 10. Share your friends list

10 rules for staying
Safe Online

1 Never give out personal information
2 Keep your password protected at all times
3 Don't share quiz results
4 Don't trust people in chat rooms
5 Keep your friends and family close
6 Don't meet in person
7 You don't have to respond
8 Only open emails from people you know
9 Have parents check chat rooms first
10 Share your friends list

Conclusion


We hope this guide has been useful for starting a conversation with your teen about online safety. Once you've read The Essential Teen Internet Safety Guide, we hope you'll share it. Working together, we can help teens in our homes, schools, and communities stay safe.

Once you've read The Essential Teen Internet Safety Guide, we hope you'll share it with others to spread awareness. Working together, we can help teens stay safe online.

Help Educate Others and Share this Guide!

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