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.
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.
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.
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.
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.