How can tech savvy parents protect teens online?

The advent of the Internet and fancy high-tech gadgets may have made life a whole lot easier but fact of the matter is that they have also given rise to numerous problems for parents. Be it online harassment, hate speech, cyber bullying or invasion of privacy  , parents are always fretting about the safety of their kids, every time they log on to the Internet. This is especially true for parents whose teenagers spend a good amount of time online to research homework and to connect with friends.

After the tragic suicide of the Canadian teenager, Amanda Todd, it has become apparent that there is a dire need to take appropriate security measures to ensure teenagers’ online safety. Here are some tips for tech savvy parents to bolster their Internet security and keep their kids out of harm’s way:

Pick and choose the right websites

Parents who frequently browse the internet are aware that social media websites record the personal data that gets uploaded on them. Every picture or video that is uploaded and later deleted is like a digital breadcrumb that can lead you anywhere. In order to ensure Internet safety for teenagers’, parents should prepare a list of websites that they find safe for their child to visit. These may include a range of informative and social media websites which can help your teen with their homework and allow them to socialize with their friends too. It is recommended that parents read the privacy statement provided by websites and select the ones which do not require personal information.

Block inappropriate content

There are a number of parental control tools, which can keep a check on your child’s online activities and help you keep him/her safe. Some of these are built into operating systems while others are sold separately along with the antivirus software.

Parental controls are also found on all popular video game consoles which your kids might have. These controls can be accessed using the settings menu.

Amp the privacy settings

Social media has become an integral part of our lives. According to research, teenagers are the most active on social media websites like facebook and twitter. These websites have constantly come under fire from critics for continuously changing their privacy settings and retaining user data. The best practice would be to fully amp the settings. This way your child will only get to interact with people he/she knows personally.

Monitoring software as a solution

As compared to parental control tools, monitoring software allow parents to remotely install a surveillance app on their teen’s computer/smartphone to supervise their online activities. Some might call it invasion of privacy but keeping in mind the growing number of harassment incidences, these tools can certainly be beneficial for concerned parents.

The Internet is here to stay and will continue to evolve with time. Parents should take appropriate measures to ensure that their kids’ online experience is safe and free from external threats of all kinds.

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