Ensuring Cyber Safety for Teens Using SecureTeen
You can place your TV or laptop in a well-trafficked area of your house to keep an eye on your kids. But what happens when they have mobile phones in their hands? Soon as they reach adolescence, their lives revolve around Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms. They regularly interact with the people you haven’t even met.
So, what would you do? Do you need to do something about this?
Think about it! When they have phones in their pockets, they are interacting with dozens of people without any parental supervision. And how will that work out for you? As stated in this article published on HuffPost, almost all teenagers have a strong internet presence and an engaging digital life. A study conducted in 2011 reported that 95% of teens are online. Among these, 80% of them have a profile on these platforms.
The indulgence of teenagers into the digital world has been increasing day by day. It is mostly because of the lifestyle we provide them. Most of the parents don’t give enough time to their kids and don’t raise them to be confident in social settings. When kids don’t face socialization so much, they tend to ignore it and they seek a change. Digital media gives them that change and thus they confide in it.
Is Social Media Safe for Teenagers?
If you being a parent think of social media as good, well, you aren’t wrong. As stated in this article by Kidshealth.com, there are a few things that make it good for the kids, such as:
- They stay connected with their friends and family.
- Being inspired by their internet friends, they often get involved in some volunteering tasks for a campaign or charity.
- The more they share, the more creative they become.
- They get the chance to communicate with educators and other students.
- They learn to express themselves.
As long as you are counting these things, social media is no doubt healthy and good for your kid. But you know very well, there is so much more to the digital world. And, soon your kid is going to explore it. Or there are very good chances that they already have been exposed to those things.
Along with being exposed to certain explicit content such as pornography, there are other things that make the internet unsafe. The content they share, the comments they receive, the extent of the trust they put on their internet folks. It all seems fun and enjoyment to them, but sooner or later, they face the consequences.
When Should I Take a Step?
Parents should consider keeping an eye on their kids from the moment they started their social media life. Most parents usually give plenty of time for their kids to enjoy their freedom. But if left with mobile phones with no guidance at all, the results can be dangerous.
However, some situations work as a sign of warning for the parents. When the teen starts being secretive and possessive about their phones, understand that something is going on. Also, there are other signs as:
- If they spend plenty of time online, especially at night.
- When they are receiving phone calls from the people you don’t even know.
- If they are receiving unsolicited gifts in the mail from unknown sources.
- If they turn off the laptop the moment you walk in.
- They seldom discuss their online activities.
- They don’t have time to discuss anything with you.
Being parents, one can know easily when is the right time to start checking up on the kids. But once you have known, what would you do next?
How Do I Keep My Teenager Safe on the Internet?
This question might be roaming in most of the parents’ minds by now. Abby has explained the ways to handle such situations very well in her article. You can ban everything at once or put sudden restrictions on your kids’ social media, but it won’t help in the long run. Restrictions must be practiced but strategically.
Let’s see what you can do handle such situations:
1. Have the “Technology Talk”
If you work in a company, you might be given some instructions about the limited use of the internet. You follow it no matter you like it or not. The same needs to be done at home. This starts with a conversation. Have a detailed conversation with your kids about the need for these rules. Also, take a look at their activities now and then, and interfere nicely wherever required.
Don’t make them feel like they are trapped. Share your social media life with them too. And, make them feel like a friend.
2. Sharing is Not Always Good
While you are at it, you might tell them gradually that what can happen with the content they share online. Most teens share their everyday moods and experiences on their accounts, and they love to get comments and views. But tell them that posting something on the internet means you are broadcasting your life on the New York Times. Worse, it is like asking people to come and criticize them with the things they are happy with.
3. Don’t Let Them Sleep With their Phones
This is something that they should be taught from the very start. Nothing should disturb their sleep. When they are about to sleep, they need to get done with everything. Nothing should be roaming in their minds, and there should be no task left. Same way, having a mobile phone in the hands while lying on the bed is not a good habit.
4. Be a Good Role Model
Kids see their parents as they grow up. You might not agree on this, but they have learned to do a lot of things from you. If you are aggressive, they will learn aggression. Same way if you are using your mobile phones too much, they will get used to it as well.
Especially, when they are teens, they observe you very closely so that they can question your habits before you ask them. So, be their role models and make them learn this way. Don’t post everyday pictures on social media, or don’t brag about your relationships and stuff.
5. Use a Parental Control App
Parental control apps like SecureTeen can do wonders for you if you are into smart parenting. This is the assistance that you need. You can monitor your kids’ activities and also restrict their screen time. This app can make parenting so easy for you that you won’t have to worry about little things again.
Here is a video by Josh Shipp, where he has clearly explained how the little acts teens do on social media can make things unsafe for them. Let your kids take a good look at that, and then have a decent conversation with them.