The Inter­net has very quick­ly become an essen­tial part of our lives. Whether we are look­ing for infor­ma­tion, social activ­i­ties, or games, the inter­net is often where we turn to sat­is­fy our needs. But the Inter­net also presents real and sig­nif­i­cant dan­gers to those who are not on guard, and it is impor­tant for your teen to know how to stay safe online.

If you are wor­ried about your teen’s inter­net habits, con­sid­er the fol­low­ing guide­lines for online safe­ty:

Nev­er reveal your true iden­ti­ty

When sign­ing up for social media or web­sites, it is always best to keep per­son­al infor­ma­tion as basic as pos­si­ble. Your teen should know not to reveal per­son­al infor­ma­tion such as their full name, house address, street, neigh­bor­hood, or school name, as this infor­ma­tion may be used to iden­ti­fy and tar­get them.

This is one of the most impor­tant rules for them to fol­low online and its impor­tance can­not be over­stat­ed.

Keep all user­names and pass­words pri­vate

Be sure that your teenage child under­stands that shar­ing pass­words can land them in hot water. The only oth­er per­son who should have their login infor­ma­tion for any social media account or web­site they fre­quent is you, the par­ent.

Stress that you will only use the infor­ma­tion in emer­gency sit­u­a­tions and be sure to explain the impor­tance of reg­u­lar­ly updat­ing their accounts with secure pass­words.

Alter­na­tive­ly, if your child is on the younger side, don’t give them pass­word infor­ma­tion at all. Cre­ate their social media accounts and main­tain con­trol so they can only access their pro­files when you’re present.

Do not engage in threat­en­ing or hate­ful behav­ior

Many teens feel social pres­sures to behave a cer­tain way, and this is just as true online as it is off. Remind teens that their actions online are just as real as they are at school, and encour­age them to act in the same way as they would in real life. Hate­ful mes­sages or rude com­ments can not only get them into trou­ble but may also car­ry legal ram­i­fi­ca­tions.

Nev­er meet up with online friends alone

It is high­ly like­ly that your teen will at some point meet some­one online that they are just dying to meet in per­son, but they should know the dan­gers and risks of doing so alone.

Encour­age them to keep you in the loop and let you know who they are meet­ing online and what they are doing. If they decide to meet some­one from online, be sure it is in a pub­lic place and go along with them even if you sit at anoth­er table and pre­tend not to know them. This way you can keep an eye on them with­out embar­rass­ing them and you will be avail­able should some­thing unto­ward hap­pen.

Nev­er post risky or inap­pro­pri­ate pho­tographs online

Teenagers have a way of not think­ing very far ahead when they’re hav­ing fun, which can lead to all sorts of poor deci­sions. For this rea­son, it’s impor­tant to be very strict about what con­tent is and is not appro­pri­ate to post online. Stress that once an image is on the Inter­net, it’s all but impos­si­ble to get rid of. Encour­age them to always think about the future before post­ing.

It may be seen as a nui­sance to your teen, but close­ly mon­i­tor­ing their social accounts is the best thing you can do for their per­son­al secu­ri­ty in today’s day and age. For more help­ful tips on how to keep your fam­i­ly safe, con­nect with PROTECTION PLUS ®!

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Allan Baum
Security Industry veteran with over 30+ years in the industry. Founded family owned and operated Protection Plus in 1994 with his wife and has overseen its growth since. In addition to working with his wife and son, Allan has assigned the role of Chief Canine Officer to his trusted dog Waub, who joins him at the office every day.