Raising teenagers these days is not easy; their online world is often as important to them as your offline world, and this can be baffling for parents.
These children have grown up in a digital age, and their view of the world is very different to the generations that came before them.
Unlike the real world, where public areas are often overseen by a CCTV kit, the online world is much more difficult to regulate. Though the vast majority of social interaction online is completely harmless, it’s important to ensure that your teenagers are protecting themselves online.
Image by: David Goehring
It can be worrying when you hear stories of children having access to inappropriate material online, but chances are that the average teenager is just sharing their latest photos, watching funny videos or catching up on the latest celebrity gossip!
If you’re worried about what your teenager may come across, then consider setting up a child protection filter. These aren’t just for young children, and you can often adjust the settings according to age and suitability of material.
We’ve all heard the horror stories about teenage girls meeting up with strangers they befriended online, so allowing your teenager to socially interact on the web can be a big concern.
Facebook is the most widely used social networking platform at the moment, and it allows your teen to socialise as if they were in the real world; setting up events and making plans to get together.
But if you’re worried about what your teen may be getting up to online, then it may be worth setting yourself up with a Facebook account and interacting with them in a similar way. This way you’ll keep up to date on what’s going on and will also be able to share their space in a fair environment.
Teenagers aren’t known for being the most talkative of people, so you may even find that interacting online improves your communication and your relationship!
Keep Things Private
Once your teen steps into the online world it can be hard to know who else might see what they’re doing. But by knowing how to adjust security settings, you can make sure that your teen protects their information from view.
Facebook has extra security settings for teens aged 13 to 17 years old, with timelines and posts automatically blocked from public view. But it’s a good option to adjust the settings so that only confirmed friends can view a profile, as your teen is then making a conscious decision about who can see.
Warn your teenager not to post any personal details online, such as their phone number, location or address, and recommend that any events they create are marked as ‘Invite only’.
A handy tip to remember is the “view as” tool (found at the top right hand side of the Facebook timeline), and then they, and you, can see exactly what their page looks like to other users.
This will help them grasp the importance of the information that they are potentially releasing online, and if this can be shown through a platform that they understand like Facebook, it really helps with showing them the importance of being responsible online.
Have you got teenagers- what worries you about real world and on-line security these days?
Elise Lévêque is a bubbly French-English translator who left her beloved Paris after falling for Great Britain in a big way! Always full of energy, she’s utterly addicted to shopping and is well known for throwing the most eccentric parties in town. She also blogs for Traders Warehouse.