Technology is progressing at an almost impossible pace and teens are generally early adopters of new tech. The internet it’s a bit of a black hole and, as with real life, there are opportunities for teens to get themselves into trouble. The dangers are out there, so how do you keep your teens safe?
Here are our 5 tips for keeping your teens safe online:
Set Clear Boundaries
It’s important to lay out clear rules with your teens regarding your expectations of their use of technology. Having guidelines in place makes imposing consequences based on behavior outside of the rules easier and more fair. Most teens have personal devices such as laptops, phones or iPads making it easy to hide many of their actions. As a parent check their devices to see if they are staying within the boundaries.
Use Parental Controls
There is a wide range of technology available to keep parents in touch with what their teens are doing online. Once you decide how much you want to know, you can install a variety of applications and controls on their devices. From basic parental controls through your internet provider to built in parental controls on their devices to third party applications that send you updates of their texts and online actions, you can choose how involved you need to be.
Keep Technology in Common Areas
Part of your technology talk should involve areas where your teens are allowed to use their devices. Consider requiring technology to stay in common areas at all times. When teens bring it into their bedrooms, they are treading on a slippery slope. Not only will you not know who they’re messaging or what they’re searching, using phones or laptops before bed can have a negative impact on their sleep patterns. So keep the devices in family areas is a win-win.
Friend them on Social Media
While not a sure fire solution, being friends with your kids on social media will help you keep track of their friends and online activities. If your teen wants a social media profile, make adding you as a friend a requirement of their internet privileges. They may not be happy about it but if it’s being your friend or losing their phone, it’s easy to guess what they’ll pick.
Demonstrate Good Behavior
Monkey see, monkey do as they say. Demonstrate to your teens how to spend time without technology. Make the dinner table a phone free zone. Have movie nights with no phones allowed. Showing your teens the benefits of disconnecting from technology will help to make them less reliant on their digital lives which helps keep them safe.
There is no sure fire way to keep your teens safe online but precautions can be taken. If you need help installing parental controls or internet security on your devices, call or stop in today!