If you have children, you already know that social networks are a very important part of tweens and teens’ social lives. As a parent, it is your responsibility to keep your child safe online. Monitoring what your child does online might have been possible in middle school, but now that your child is older and wants more privacy, you need to have a talk with them about online safety.
In This Post:
Bullying And Unrealistic Expectations
Teenagers often use social media to create an idealized image of themselves. Their followers will compare themselves to this image and find that they fall short of a perfect standard. This is something you should talk about with your child and make sure they understand that what they see on social media is often not a reflection of real life. Encourage your child to be themselves online and not to compare themselves to what they see on social media.
You should also encourage them to treat other with respect and to reach out to an adult if they are being bullied or harassed online.
Creating Safe Passwords
A strong password should include a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. It shouldn’t include your child’s name or any other information that would be easy to guess.
Encourage your child to create strong passwords for their different accounts, to change these passwords regularly, and to avoid re-using passwords across different sites. Invite your child to write their passwords on a piece of paper that you can keep in a sealed envelope in case there is an emergency. Here is some good advice from Tradewind which is also suitable for the home.
Your child might not be aware that what they post online can be seen by anyone. Even if their social networking profiles are kept private, remind them that someone could screenshot something they shared.
Encourage your child to think before they post. Anything offensive or personal could become public and be seen by friends, by a college adviser, or even by a potential employer. Help your child review their privacy settings and make sure they understand that what they do online could hurt their reputation in the real world.
Talk About Sexual Messages
Sharing sexually explicit messages or photos can be tempting. This is something you need to address with your child since they could be stalked by online predators, or have their sexually explicit messages or photos leaked online.
Your child needs to be aware that sharing sexually explicit photos of themselves is illegal as long as they are minors and that they should report any predatory behavior. Encourage your child to talk to you if someone pressures them into sharing this type of content, or let them know they can contact the police or report a person to CyberTipline.com
Your child might be tempted to meet an online friend in person. Make sure they understand that the person they have been talking to online might not be who they claim.
If your child wants to meet an online friend in person, set a few safety rules, such as meeting in a public place, bringing some friends along, and letting adults know where they are.