It is difficult enough to keep teens safe in the real world, let alone in the cyberworld of social media, texting, online gaming, and cyberbullies. But you don’t have to wait and hope for the best; you can take steps to assist your teen surf the internet safely. Learn about the most prevalent cyber threats to teenagers and utilize the list of safety guidelines to improve online protection for the entire family.
What Are The Top Online Threats for Teens?
The Internet is a maze where hackers and other cybercriminals can corrupt useful information and engaging websites. When it comes to protecting teenagers, your first line of defense is to comprehend the twists and turns that await them as they navigate this dangerous territory. Here is a glance at the most significant internet threats and what they can mean for your child:
- Cyberbullying: There is a long history of bullying among adolescents, but today the taunts and abuse do not end at the high school’s doors. Social media, texting, email, and direct messaging can enter your teen’s life 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are several instances when cyberbullying has tragically led to suicide.
- Sexting: Whether sending or receiving images (or sexually suggestive text messages), sexting can cause many problems. Depending on how far it goes and whether or not photos are kept private, sexting can result in anything from serious reputation damage to charges of child pornography.
- Identity Theft: It may seem odd to be concerned about identity theft if your kid has no credit or assets to steal. But fraudsters enjoy taking advantage of a teen’s lack of credit history to start accounts that can follow him or her for years. The damage can affect your teen’s future by making it more difficult for him or her to acquire a car, rent an apartment, or obtain employment.
- Pornography: Your teen’s potential to build healthy, loving relationships in the future could be hindered by exposure to pornography. It may harm a teen’s self-esteem and distort their concept of romantic relationships.
- Online Predators: Online predators frequently pose as peers to communicate with potential victims. They can appear on social networks, chat rooms, and other online settings. Numerous predators target adolescents for sexual exploitation and human trafficking. However, an increasing number of cyber predators seek to radicalize minors for extremist political and religious groups.
Ways To Keep Your Teen Safe Online
Once you are aware of the dangers lying in the shadows of the Internet, you can take steps to limit the hazards to your teenager. These strategies provide a solid defense against the most dangerous internet threats.
1. Have A Talk
The best way to keep your teen safe online and in the real world is communication. It is never too early (or too late) to start talking to your youngster about online safety, whether they are in their preteen years or have recently turned 16.
Share with your teen your concerns regarding online dangers and explain how to avoid them. By initiating a conversation about online safety with your teen, you open the door for them to come to you when something weird or frightening occurs.
2. Establish Ground Rules
Outline your expectations for your teen’s online behaviors and establish internet safety guidelines that will protect your child. Include items such as sharing email accounts and online credentials. Determine which social networking sites and applications are permitted and which are prohibited.
3. Create An Open Setting
Computers, laptops, tablets, and cellphones should be kept in a central location where you can monitor activities and enforce other rules.
Limit your children’s screen time, including time spent on smartphones, online gaming, and other web-based activities. Teach them to avoid interacting with strangers online, whether it’s an email from an unknown source, a dubious link, or a friend request from someone they don’t know. Encourage your youngsters to consult you if they are unsure, so you can determine together whether something is safe or not.
4. Put Safeguards In Place
Use a filter to minimize your teen’s exposure to inappropriate content. Parental controls can provide useful information about your child’s online behavior and alert you to any red flags.
If you are concerned about invading your teen’s privacy, seek a parental control tool designed to protect your child from danger rather than spy on them. Numerous apps inform parents of potential dangers without revealing information that could make your kid feel disrespected and violated.
And ensure that the privacy settings are enabled on any devices, apps, and software your adolescent uses. Ensure that they understand how to protect their smartphone against hackers and other cyber threats.
5. Make Sure To Connect Online
Be aware of all of your teen’s social network profiles and insist that they add you as a friend. This can be more than a safety measure; it can also be a pleasant method to create rapport with your teen. The major advantage of befriending your teenager is the capacity to anticipate and prevent possible risks.
Make it mandatory that you are the first friend your child adds to a new social app or network if they wish to download it. This not only provides insight into their online activities but also allows you to learn about the software and its potential risks.
6. Keep An Eye Out For Any Issues
Despite your best efforts to safeguard your child online, he or she may still encounter inappropriate content. Regardless of how secure you believe your teen’s internet activities to be, you should always be on the lookout for indications that things may not be as secure as you believe. Consider the following indicators that your child may be in trouble:
- Secretive behavior, such as covering screens when you enter the room or attempting to use the Internet without supervision
- Creating new email accounts, profiles on social networks, etc.
- Turning gloomy or withdrawn
- Falling out with friends or activities
- Exhibiting intense emotional responses after using the Internet
Find out why parents need to monitor their child’s phones here.
Daisy is the engine behind Be-Safe.org — from content production to product reviews and more. What drives her is the passion to make home security information easily available.