Now more than ever, teaching teens about internet safety is an important task that every parent should consider. With the web growing and evolving by the second, fraudsters and users with ill-intentions are also improving their digital pitfalls. Here are some things to keep in mind when talking to your children about navigating the web safely.
Fraud can be scary for anyone. Showing your kids good browsing habits at a young age can set them up for success later in life and can help put your mind at ease. For starters, make sure they set up a secure email address that is only used for reliable sources, such as school and connecting with family, and not shared with untrustworthy sites. Instruct them to never disclose their personal information on any online channels, such as their phone number, address, or even locations that they visit on a daily basis.
Social media safety
It seems like new social media channels are popping up every day, and anyone with internet access can easily create an account. Advise your children to keep their information private by changing their account settings to prevent the public from seeing their profile information and photos.
If you want to keep track of what your teen is posting on social media, set up your own account and request to follow them. Be transparent about it so that your child is comfortable with sharing their activity with you.
Cyber bullying can be another unfortunate side effect of posting on social media. Encourage your kids to approach you when they feel uncomfortable with a situation that they encounter online. Remind them that being nice to others online is just as important as in the real world.
According to a mobile fact sheet published by the Pew Research Center, 75% of American teens own a smartphone. It is a good idea that your children understand that the online safety tips that you give them also apply to their mobile devices.
Setting up firm rules about late night phone usage can help establish good browsing habits before bedtime. Creating a family charging station in common areas such as the living room will not only set a good example but prevent your kids from keeping their devices in their rooms at night.
If your child is away from home to attend an event such as a sleepover or school activity, ask them to keep their location tracking on to help give you peace of mind. Again, having honest conversations about these decisions will help your teen understand the importance of keeping an open line of communication between you and them.
The internet doesn’t have to be a frightening place as long as you and your teens have a better understanding of how to avoid online traps. Start teaching good practices early and implement these tips to your own browsing activity so the whole family can be safer online.