Teen Internet Use

As the Internet grows in popularity as do social networking sites our teens are on the Internet more and more every day. It isn’t always that teens go looking for trouble when they are online but trouble can fall into their lap if they aren’t careful. Parents have the responsibility to help teens understand the dangers of sharing information, surfing the Internet and more.

Learning how to set privacy settings and having some boundaries about how much information you share is vital. The Attorney General’s office of Minnesota even has a Power Point presentation available on their site for using MySpace. This just proves that parents as well as officials everywhere are concerned about these sites and teens on the Internet in general. Online safety is a huge issue in today’s world.
Here are a few things parents can do to make sure they help their teens be safe online:
  1. Know of all things in your house that can possibly connect to the Internet.
  2. Use content filters and passwords to protect access. When your teen wants to be online they should be asking you to make it accessible and then you know when they are online and when they aren’t.
  3. Keep the computer and other Internet accessible items out in an open living area where you will see the content being viewed or uploaded.
  4. Make your Internet rules for your household firm and clear to your teen. If you need to put this into a parent contract to help you make things clear that is a great idea. There should be consequences for any abuse of such privileges.
  5. Talk, talk and more talk. Make sure you keep talking to your teens about how to be safe. Stay up to date on what sites are up and coming and what is popular for teens. Know the language they are using (including the text language).
These are just a few things you can do. You do not need kids who are into cyber bullying or victims of it. You also don’t need them accessing inappropriate content or uploading such content. For starters just be sure that personal information and pictures are only seen by those that you know and trust. Even for those you trust, pictures should be rated G and personal information should be minimal. Nothing online is truly private. This is true of everything digital. It is also a good idea to make sure your teen knows that you will always find out what they are doing online, that nothing is a secret. This will help deter any inappropriate online behavior.