According to 2012 data from The Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project, 95% of teens spend time online. Help your teen understand appropriate Internet usage and the risks involved with social networking. Talk with them about the following:
Open communication. Ask your teen to walk you through their regular Internet routine. What sites are they visiting regularly and how much time are they spending? Get to know their favorite sites and apps to better understand the risks.
Personal information. Remind your teen never to share personal information without your permission. This may include:
- Full name
- Phone number
- Financial information
- School name
- Social Security number
Privacy settings. Make sure your teen has strict privacy settings enabled to protect their photos and updates from strangers. Also ask your teen to only befriend people online if they already know them in real life.
Photos. Talk about the types of photos that are appropriate to post online. Also encourage your teen to alert you if anyone sends him or her explicit or offensive photos.
In-person meetings. Share the dangers of an in-person meeting with someone they met online. If allowed, these meetings should require parental permission and a chaperone.
Cyberbullying. Teach your teen not to post embarrassing photos, send mean texts or spread hurtful rumors via electronics, and to immediately report any cyberbullying they witness. Also take time to learn the signs of bullying so you can recognize if your teen becomes a victim.
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