Exposure to inappropriate content too soon
revealing too much personal information
being constantly glued to social media
getting caught up in saying things you would never say in person
All of these are on line dangers. With technology these dangers are invited into our homes, our kids bedrooms, our kids lives every day. They are very real. Statistics are showing that teens are talking to their parents more openly and are becoming more concerned about posting pictures and videos of themselves on line. That is a promising trend!
Here are some guidelines to keep that trend moving in the right direction:
- Keep your computer in a common area. Be sure to walk past your kids and teens as they are on the computer.
- Learn how to set up parental controls on your computer, phones and all devices, including iPods. Teens have access to the world on all of their devices. They will be smarter and more savvy than we are as parents. Learn how to set the controls and how to check them. Ask for help if you need it. This only slows teens down. They will still find what they want online, but this requires them to think before they act., to purposefully seek out what they are looking for and hopefully give them time to rethink.
- Know how to check your computer’s history. Know how to check your teens device history. Know that if it is cleared, there is something hidden.
- Know all passwords to your teens devices.
- Know what apps your teen uses to communicate.
- Talk about cyber issues often. Talk to them about the rules stated above, but talk to them about how their cyber world is going. Ask questions. Share your own stories. Teach them to monitor their own usage. By the time you drop them off at college or their first apartment, they need to be able to keep themselves safe on line. That is a big task. You only have a few years to teach them to be safe and to show them how to set limits and not let devices and social media rule their lives.