Online safety is not something that we as parents can afford to ignore where our kids are concerned. The Internet is going to be a vital part of their teen years no matter how hard we might try to avoid that. With it integrated into our phones, computers, tablets and schools, teens are destined to be involved with all things online. Given this fact, we have to take an active approach towards educating them on how to be safe. Here are some tips that will help you reach that lofty goal:
Help them to see how far the Internet really reaches
Most teens are going to have a good understanding of this, but few of them understand what it really means. A lone picture posted on the Internet that was a moment of silly fun between girls could become a life altering picture spread to all four corners of the earth. People can make pictures mean very different things and teens can spread the word quicker than anybody. Talk to them about how these things can happen and don’t be afraid to share a horror story they can relate to. Sometimes that is what it takes.
Go over privacy settings on Facebook
Many teens don’t really understand how privacy settings work on Facebook and may be sharing things they never intended to. Show them how to block someone, how to unfriend someone, how to block others from seeing their profile and so on. All of these things are very important.
Show them how to cut off location on the phone…and explain why
The last thing your kid needs to be doing is advertising their exact location to everyone on earth. The world is far too dangerous these days for such things. Explain to them how it works and why they need to be paying attention. Your kids being blind to evil is not going to do them any favors. Show them what they need to do and explain to them why. You have to these days if you want your kids to be safe.
Discuss online stalking and trusting strangers
Your kids really need to know that strangers are just as dangerous online as they are in person. If a person really wants to find someone online, they can manage it. Stalkers can be extremely dangerous and your kids need to keep this in mind when they spend time online. These types will seek out kids and teens and they need to know what to look for. They also need to know you are available to come to without judgement when they make a mistake.
These are only a few of the more important safety tips online, but you can certainly think of more. The important thing is to be present in your children’s online life. We can be present in person but still be missing the boat by ignoring their online lives. This can be a deadly mistake. Pay attention and you will see what is needed on a day to day basis.