How To Keep Your Teens Safe Online
Keeping your children safe is more important to a parent than anything else. That protection needs to extend online in the modern world. Our young ones – especially teenagers – grow up surrounded by technology. This offers ample benefits such as entertainment and communicating with their friends.
But there are risks involved too. The Online Safety Bill, published in May 2021, protects children, but there is still plenty more to do. Here are a few tips for any parents looking to deal with this difficult subject.
What are some of the potential threats?
Sadly, the threats can come in several forms. These include:
- Identity theft
- Offensive messages
- Invasion of privacy
Organisations such as the NSPCC offer plenty of advice on online safety, but what steps can you take to protect your loved ones?
Highlight the dangers
It’s not enough for you to be familiar with the risks – your teenagers need to know too. They may get guidance in schools, but it’s understandable to want some input in this process as well.
Get a feel for their online habits, so you can better understand where the dangers are most likely to come from. It’s a fine line to tread because the last thing you want is to invade their privacy. But you need to let them know that you are responsible for looking after their well-being.
Set ground rules
It could prove a sensible move to lay down some ground rules off the back of that conversation. Cutting them off altogether will only prove counterproductive. Teenagers are resourceful and will only find a means to defy you anyway.
With that in mind, try to arrive at a compromise. The nature of this will depend on your relationship with them. It could involve anything from limiting screen time to gaining access to their passwords so you can keep tabs on their activity. The important thing is that you arrive at a solution you’re both comfortable with.
Install safeguarding measures
You can use some tech tools to add an extra layer of security on top of your parenting skills. For example, connecting to a virtual private network (VPN) will encrypt your teenager’s data and activity. This makes it extremely difficult for anyone else to gain access to that information.
Antivirus and ad blocker programs are also highly recommended across all devices. These can enable your family to enjoy all the benefits of the online space without feeling at risk.