Today’s teenagers are more tech-savvy than any previous generation. Having grown up in the age of the internet, smartphones and social media, they are experts at navigating the world of cyberspace. At the same time, teens are not always as careful as they should be regarding online safety and security. If you are a parent of a teen, you should keep the following six cyber safety tips in mind to ensure that your kids are safe online.
Don’t Reveal Personal Information
It’s never a good idea to reveal personal information to people you don’t actually know offline. This includes people in chat rooms, forums, game sites and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. You never know to whom you’re talking and revealing information such as your real name, physical address or phone number can lead to problems.
Use Secure Passwords
Many people make the mistake of using password that are easy to guess, such as variations on their names, birthdays or pet’s name. Another error is to use the same password on many different sites. Make sure that you use a unique, challenging password for each password protected site. Good passwords include both upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. Never reveal your passwords to others.
Educate Yourself About Computer Security
To keep your computer secure, you need to make sure that elements such as firewalls and anti-virus software are in place. Make sure that all of your programs are updated and secure. Companies such as Global Learning Systems provide products and training on all facets of computer security.
Learn to Recognize Phishing Tactics
Many of the most sophisticated computer criminals gain access to your information by sending out phishing emails or social media messages. These emails may appear to come from a trusted source, such as a bank or government agency. Never click on links in emails. If you aren’t sure about a link, access the site independently and verify if you were actually contacted.
Be Cautious About Meeting People Offline
People often misrepresent themselves online. They may lie about their gender, age, location or intentions. Adults, for example, may pose as teens in chat rooms or social media sites. That’s why you should always exercise caution before meeting people from the internet in person. Always have an adult present and only meet new people in public places.
Parents Should Always Be Aware of Teens’ Online Behavior
While teenagers value their privacy, it’s also necessary for parents to be aware of what their kids are doing online. This doesn’t mean monitoring every message and email. Parents, however, should be aware of the sites teens are visiting and with whom they are talking. Parents can exercise their judgment and protect teens best when they have some awareness of what their kids are doing online.
These tips can help to keep teens safe online. The internet is a vast and potentially dangerous place, especially for kids and teens. Even young people who are very knowledgeable about technology need their parents’ guidance when it comes to staying safe online.