Safety Online For Teens
Your teens are probably around the house this summer. That means they are spending more time online watching videos, playing games, and using social media. We want to keep them safe and aware of both the risks and the benefits of using technology. Parents in today’s world did not grow up with the technology that exists today. We cannot look back and think about how our parents dealt with keeping children safe online. The same principles used to raise healthy children offline works for raising healthy children online.
COMMUNICATION AND BOUNDARIES
COMMUNICATION: If you are not talking to your child, their friends, the internet and social media will be doing the talking for you. Parents need to become the voice that children listen to. In order to be that voice it is important to listen to what your child is saying and discuss it.
- HAVE YOU TALKED WITH YOUR CHILD ABOUT HOW
- to use the internet and cell phones safely
- to behave toward other people online or on the phone
- HAVE YOU TALKED TO YOU CHILD ABOUT WHAT
- he or she does on the internet
- kinds of things should and should not be shared online or on a cell phone
BOUNDARIES: It’s not about technology. It’s about being the best parent you can be. Your children may have more technical knowledge than you, but they need you to make sense of it. It is important to familiarize yourself with what your children are doing online so you can give them the guidance they need.
- HAVE YOU
- Checked to see what information is available online about your child?
- Checked which websites your child visited
- Friended your child on social media
- Used parental controls or other means of blocking, filtering or monitoring your child’s online and cell phone activities
- Turned off geo-localization- disabling apps that broadcast where you are when you are away from home
TIPS FOR HAVING A CONVERSATION WITH YOUR CHILD ABOUT INTERNET SAFETY
- Share something that you have seen a friend post online that you found interesting, offensive or sad. Talk about your reactions and ask your teen what they think. Ask them if they have ever thought differently about one of their friends based on something they posted?
- Ask your child why they love a particular game or social app.
- Ask your child what their favorite websites are and talk about why they like them.
- Make a game/contest/competition out of who can spend more time away from the computer/cell phone etc. ( including yourself in the game)
- Use the internet for learning for both you and your child.
- Involve your children in formulating Family Tech Rules.
- Play this quick game with your kids to learn more about wireless security. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/media/game-0006-invasion-wireless-hackers
SOCIAL MEDIA CHALLENGES PARENTS SHOULD BE AWARE OF:
- Anonymity- social media services such as snapchat, twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube allow people to be anonymous. Your children can be part of a group without knowing the identity of others in that group that may be sharing what is posted. It is difficult to identify problematic people online and children may naturally trust their ‘friends’ online.
- Encryption- if you are not in the group you cannot see what is being said. There is no moderation for inappropriate content.
- Filters- Sharing is impossible to control even when using a filter.
- Gaming- Multiple player gaming makes it easy for adults and children to play together and connect online. Games are designed to be absorbing and make people continue playing and can become addictive.
Children do not have enough maturity and life skills to determine the validity of many of the messages that they are getting online. They are at risk for being fooled by misleading advertising, poor body images and other types of inappropriate content. For help with setting safety and privacy settings for social media apps click here: http://parentinfo.org/article/setting-safety-and-privacy-settings-for-social-media-apps
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