Most teenagers today have access to technology that their parents didn’t have growing up, and they are using it in their everyday lives to stay connected and learn about the world around them. As a parent, it’s important to maintain an open dialogue about staying safe online, the same way you would address your teen’s safety at school or in general.
Social networking platforms like Facebook are evolving quickly, and many parents find it challenging to keep up. If you want to keep an open dialogue with your teen about the steps they should take to protect themselves online, here are four general principles to help guide your discussion:
Remain true to yourself: Your online accounts reflect who you are in real life. Be real when communicating online and use social networking smartly, to share the information and content that are important to you with friends and family. Don’t post or say anything on Facebook that you wouldn’t also say in person.
Keep your passwords secret: Passwords should always be kept private, whether they are for your email account, online banking, school or healthcare records. Social media sites are no exception. Don’t share passwords, and if you suspect someone is trying to access your account, immediately report it to the site. It’s also good practice to change your password frequently.
Remember to report: It is important to understand a site or app’s rules, so you can report any offensive or abusive content that is in violation of the platform’s rules and regulations. On Facebook, there are reporting links located next to almost every piece of content on the site.
Only connect with people you know: When on social networks, only friend people you know. If someone is sending messages or content that is inappropriate, unfriend or block the person through your profile.
Safety is especially important when teens are beginning to connect and communicate online. It’s important to have an open discussion with your teen about online safety and use the many great resources and tools available online, including Facebook’s Family Safety Centre- https://www.facebook.com/safety/groups/teens/.