As a parent, one of the must-dos in this modern age is talking with your kids about online safety and all the risks that come with the use of the internet. Whether they’re using social media platforms, internet chat rooms, online message boards, or instant messaging programs/apps, we’ve got tips for talking to your tween or teen about their safety online.
1. Do Pick the Right Moment.
Bringing up the subject can be challenging, as your tween or teen may automatically become defensive about their privacy. One of the options to do it properly is to choose the right time. Don’t start talking about your child’s internet use and the dangers that come with it after a disagreement when tensions are already high. With kids, and especially teenagers, this can lead to problems.
2. Do Wait Until Your Child Gets Off the Computer.
When they walk away from it, ask them if they know how to be safe online and if they are aware of the risks and dangers of the internet. This way, you will sound less like an overprotective, overbearing parent, at least to your teenager.
3. Don’t Assume Your Child Already Knows About Internet Safety.
When discussing internet safety with your child, it’s crucial not to assume that they already know about it. Even if your child stops you, saying they already know how to be safe online, carry on. Be sure to repeat your point and establish any internet rules you want them to follow. It’s important to remember that teenagers often think they know everything, but many don’t. For example, they may know that there are internet predators out there, but do they also know that pictures of them drinking or smoking underage could get them suspended or even arrested?
4. Don’t Skip the Social Media Platforms.
Since so many kids are using social media sites, they need to be discussed. Make sure to tell them that anyone can hide behind a computer, even an internet predator. Also, help them understand the dangers of posting pictures and personal information on their social media profiles. In addition to social media platforms, apps and internet chat rooms should also be discussed. As with social media platforms, make sure that your kid knows that they could be talking to anyone. Tell them to get out of the chat room immediately if the tone turns sexual or if they start feeling uncomfortable.
5. Don’t Forget the Personal Blogs.
Many websites allow their users to start free blogs. Many teenagers find this a great way to vent or let their friends stay up-to-date on their thoughts. Your teen must understand that everyone can view these blogs, so their information isn’t really private and personal.
By Center for Cyber Safety and Education, a nonprofit dedicated to educating children, adults, and seniors on how to be safe online.