Many people out there are scared of the internet and the negative effects of social media on teenagers. They’re scared of its power, but hey, if Superman hid his powers from the world, he wouldn’t be able to help anyone at all!
The key is to contain and protect your youth from what they might come across online, and with some extra knowledge about what to do and what not to do, can help go a long way.
So here we go, three key points to keep youth safe online…
1. Don’t give our personal information.
It’s kind of simple…in real life, if you don’t want someone to go use your credit card, don’t give out your details to people. Same with the online world; if you don’t want randoms calling your cell phone, don’t give out your personal information. Re-iterate to youth that whatever you put online will stay there forever, regardless of whether they take it off, it will always be stored somewhere online in a little box, and hackers have ways of retrieving this information. Don’t let them be a victim to this, so just a gentle reminder to not put out their address, contact phone numbers, or any type of details they don’t need on there. Many people are scared to set up profiles on social networks, because they believe their identity may get stolen. The way I see it, living in real life is way more dangerous – if someone really wanted to steal your identity, they can stalk you to your house, get close-up shots of your face, and steal your credit cards out of your wallet. Online, you hold a certain amount of authority over what information you want to make available for the public; heck, you don’t even need to put up a real photo of you – put up a photo of a cartoon, or a nice sunset…you are allowed to be in control, so stay in control.
Just like parents put parental locks on certain channels, you can do the same to prevent any viruses, or to block unwanted websites online. It’s fantastic that you have the option to protect your online use so much, so don’t overlook a few tens of dollars.
3. Limit their time on the internet.
Research is coming up with horrific figures about how much time young people are spending online…help contribute to minimize this in your household by limiting the amount of time your young people are spending online. It will ensure they are most productive during the time they do have, and also have time to do other things in the REAL world. A great tip many parents are talking about, is to not let young people…probably more the pre-teens, be online past their bed time. Apart from the corneas getting damaged, it will disrupt their sleeping patterns, which is not recommended for growing, evolving bodies of adolescents.
They may be simple, but definitely effective to help keep your youth stay safer and healthier. You can put all these in practice, starting today, and if matters are getting really out of hand, how about an online/computer-use set of rules to make sure everyone knows the rules they can stick to. It doesn’t have to be a big Super Nanny poster, but a good 5 points that you can brainstorm with the whole family can make online use fun, productive, and staying safe, effective in your household.
What is the best piece of advice you can give, or have been given about staying safe online?