When it comes to raising your teenager, it can be next to impossible to prevent them from going online. There are so many activities they likely complete on the internet, including gaming, chatting, or even schoolwork. However, there are still ways to keep your teenager safe, even if it feels like they live online. Here are a few ways to consider.
Keep an Open Dialogue
One of the best ways to keep your teenagers safe on the internet is to make sure that you keep an open dialogue with them. This means you should tell them what the rules are regarding the internet in your household. For example, you may have a limit on the time they can spend gaming, on social media, or just browsing. Be sure that they have a clear understanding of the rules.
Teens also need to know the dangers of the internet and how to use it properly. If they don’t want to hear this from you, there are sites that provide plenty of information on keeping your identity safe and protecting yourself from people that may want to hurt you online. You can show them sites such as these, so they may be able to get a better understanding of how dangerous the internet can be for a young person.
You can also visit BetterHelp for more advice and information on teenagers and how to keep them safe.
Monitor Their Computer Use
Something else you can do to protect your teen online is to monitor their computer use. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to see all the things they do when they are on the internet, but you should be aware of the sites that they visit. If there are sites that you don’t want them to use, you should let them know. You can also block certain sites or restrict access if you need to.
If you have a computer that the whole family uses, you may want to place it in an area where you can easily see what is going on when you walk by. This will allow you to keep an eye on what your teenager is doing online without having to watch over their shoulder.
Look at Apps on Their Phones
In many cases, teens spend a lot of time on their cell phones. If yours does, this is another place where they can access the internet, so you have to make sure they are safe when they are using their smartphones as well.
You can set up rules for what apps they are able to use and download on their phone, and how much time they can spend on their phone, regardless of what they are doing on it.
Make certain that your teen knows the rules regarding their devices and what consequences will occur if they break your rules on what they can do on their phones. Smartphones can be harder to monitor than computer usage, but it is important to look at your teen’s phone every now and then, simply to check out the apps they are using. You shouldn’t invade their privacy by reading their chats and text messages unless it is necessary to do so.
Notice Changes in Behavior
Always pay attention to changes in your teen’s behaviour as well. If they changed their attitude overnight, are getting in trouble at school, or are no longer hanging out with their friends, there may be something wrong that needs to be addressed. For example, your child might be depressed and require therapy. Teenagers can become depressed after they are cyberbullied online.
On the flip side, if your teen stops listening to you and begins breaking your rules overnight, this could mean that they are engaged in an online relationship that you don’t know about. They could be sexting on their phones or talking to individuals online that may have untoward motives.
This is why it is very important to let your teens know they are able to talk to you about anything and you won’t judge them. It is also the main reason they should be informed about all the ways the internet can be a harmful place.
It is quite possible to protect your teenagers online, but you will have to explain why their internet activity needs to be monitored and the rules surrounding their use of it. You must also pay attention when your child is acting in a different manner than they usually do, so you will be able to spot if they have been harassed online. Pay attention and talk to other parents to see how they approach their teenager’s internet use. They might be able to provide more helpful advice.