by Daniel Korolija | Guest Contributor | Privacy Concerns
The Internet is full of potential hazards for adults, let alone teenagers. Cyberbullying, pornography, and identity theft are just some of the dangers that teenagers face on a daily basis. But there are some things you can do to keep young people safe in the online world.
Monitor teenager’s web activity
If your child has a computer, set the ground rules early on. For example, you can place the computer, laptop, or iPad in the living room so that you can peek at the screen and see what your kid is watching. Youngsters prefer structure, so define the parts of the day when they can play games online and chat with their friends.
Protect teenager’s laptops and mobile phones
Once you buy your teenager a computer or a mobile phone, you should teach them how to use it in a way that protects their personal information. Start by helping them create a password for both their desktop and mobile devices and explain the importance of not sharing passwords with peers. A potential thief will be discouraged from stealing a laptop or phone that has a password. Modern smartphones come with a fingerprint lock screen feature, which serves as an extra layer of security.
Install antivirus programs on the teenager’s computers and mobile devices
The most common threats online are different types of viruses. A lot of the malware is disguised as legitimate software that can crash your computer and steal information. Antivirus software is a good defense against cyberattacks, but first, make sure that your child understands how these viruses work. Explain to them why they should not use public WiFi or download unverified apps. Familiarize them with email scams and other fraudulent practices and teach them how to avoid suspicious sites.
Teach your children to keep their accounts private
Social media channels are another prevalent source of online threats. We are not going to discuss the numerous negative aspects of using social networking sites. Instead, we are focusing on things you can do to alleviate the negative effects of social media on a teenager’s life.
After installing Facebook, TikTok, or Whats app, check if your child knows how to use privacy settings. With these tools, users can make their accounts visible only to friends and family and stop receiving friend requests or messages from strangers.
Protect online identity
Most adults were taught not to talk to strangers when they were kids. That message has a modern equivalent in the online world. If your teenage child uses chat rooms, it’s crucial they don’t reveal personal information like their real name, address, or phone number. According to somestatistics, 75% of teens are ready to share personal information about themselves and their families in exchange for services.
Stay away from online predators
Talk to your child about the content he or she posts on social media. Explain to them that even information about a coffee shop they frequent can help online predators find them. Privacy tools can help restrict strangers from seeing posts, but the best thing is not to reveal information that the predator can use to harm a teenager physically or emotionally.
Set up a parental control app
Parental control apps are a useful tool that alerts parents of predators and scammers. The app also looks for content that can reveal if a teenager is depressed or in danger. By scanning your child’s online activity, including emails, web searches, or photos on social media, the app can also expose any illegal activity like underage gambling.
Connect with your kids online
Even if you are not a fan of social media apps, now is the time to create an account and step into the virtual world. Connect with your teen on Facebook or other platforms, so that you can check what they post and who their friends are.
Make sure that your teen knows what a digital footprint is. Explain to your youngster that everything they ever do on the Internet - like posting a photo or sending an email - stays online forever. Tell them that their teachers and future employers can see the content and based on that develop an impression about them.
Have a deep conversation with your child about how to stay safe online
Last but not least, be sure to talk to your child about online threats. Regardless of how smart and responsible they are, teens are not completely aware of potential dangers that exist while they are surfing the web. Point out the most common threats and teach them how to avoid risky behavior on the Internet.