Teenagers and the internet go together like bread and butter – but many parents may fear for the safety of their adolescents while they surf the net. If you have any concerns, here are some helpful tips for keeping your teens protected while they use the Internet.
Insist on safeguards such as password protection
If your teen has a laptop, tablet, or smartphone of their own, make sure you show them how to set up robust security, including password protection. Check the privacy settings on their smartphone so you can check how much information is accessible to apps and other programs.
You could also consider enabling the locator function on the device so that if it gets stolen you can track it down.
Keep the channels of communication open
Rather than simply laying out a set of strict limitations regarding Internet usage – which could backfire by causing feelings of resentment and perhaps even prompting your teen to rebel – try and have regular supportive discussions about staying safe online.
Ask your teen to let you know if they encounter anything suspicious, and reiterate the importance of being careful about the sensitive information they post online, as it could be stolen or used against them.
You should also warn them about the risks of opening suspicious emails from unfamiliar sources, and make sure they have antivirus software on their laptop and protective apps on their phone to keep malware and viruses at bay.
It’s also vital that you chat with your teen about the dangers of online predators and cyberbullying. Remind them that they shouldn’t give strangers personal information or be drawn into online conversations that make them uncomfortable. You should also encourage them to speak to you about any online bullying they may encounter as this can have a detrimental effect on their mental health.
Monitor your teen’s subscriptions and online shopping
There are plenty of online shopping scams out there, not to mention the constant danger of in-app purchases which could see your teen inadvertently wracking up a monumental bill. Try and keep tabs on any subscriptions they may have, as well as the apps they use and their online shopping habits. Set a monthly budget for them to stick to, or consider helpful tools such as iTunes ‘allowance’ option, or the gift cards you can purchase from the likes of Amazon and many other major retailers.
Remove sensitive data from data brokers’ databases
If you’re concerned that your teen’s sensitive information may already be accessible, take the anxiety out of the situation by hiring someone to take care of it for you.
Data removal companies such as Incogni provide an affordable and time-saving service, which removes sensitive information from data brokers’ databases – and ensures that they don’t get it back by conducting regular checks.
By doing so, Incogni bolsters your levels of protection from serious threats, including hackers and shadow profiles.
While it may seem like an invasion of privacy to your teens, it’s still a good idea to check their browsing history now and then to make sure they aren’t visiting any harmful or illegal sites.
Finally, you may also want to consider using special apps and programs like Teen Safe and Net Nanny to give yourself peace of mind about their online activities.