Are you worried about the amount of time your teen spends on the internet? Do you feel your teen could be caught in the unsafe world of the web? Are you worried that your teen may knowingly or unknowingly get into internet practices that are not safe? If you are worried about your teen's virtual safety, read on to know what you should keep a lookout for and how you can ensure your teen is safe.
Here are some basic internet safety tips that will help keep your teen out of any virtual or real danger.
Do not reveal your online identity: Your teen may want to show off on the internet, especially to peers and friends of the opposite gender, but it can be a potential threat.
* Tell your teen to keep personal information out of the internet. Some social media websites required personal information and even encourage the same. Ask your teen to keep the information as basic as possible.
* Your teen should definitely keep certain information away from the internet. Information like full name, house address, street, neighborhood, school name and so on should not be revealed at any cost. One of the most important tips for internet safety for teens.
Keep the username and password to yourself: Your teen needs to understand that a username and a password are extremely private things and should not be given out for any reason.
* Teach your teen all about the importance of a username and a password. Tell your teen how wrong usage of the same by someone else can land your teen in trouble. Encourage your teen to share the password details only with you, after agreeing that you will not use them unless in case of any emergency.
* Your teen should regularly change and update his password to avoid potential threat of hacking.
No risky pictures please: Be strict with your teen about what images are okay to post online and what kinds are not.
* Your teen should entirely stay away from posting any pictures online that show nudity in any form, intimate behavior, illegal behavior, rude or racist behavior or anything that may be deemed inappropriate. Tell your teen to inform friends not to tag any such images that may seem inappropriate. If someone does tag a picture, ask your teen to remove the tag and ask the person to take it off the internet.
* Your teen may feel that one or few images will never pop up, but stress on the fact that even one image can stay on the internet forever and anyone can see and use the same.
Do not indulge in hateful or threatening behavior: In an effort to show a cool image, many teens end up faking a rude and threatening image online.
* Encourage your teen to be nice on the internet, just like they probably are in real life and would want others to be to them.
* Tell them that writing hate messages or rude and racist comments can land them in trouble. Also stress on the fact that writing threatening messages can also lead to legal punishment.
Keep online life away from real life: Your teen will meet new and interesting people on the internet and may want to someday meet them in person.
* Tell your teen to never agree to meet someone in person who he may have met online. An online personality can be a fake profile created by someone who is not safe to meet alone. Your teen should always keep you informed about friends he meets online and the general discussions they have. These are simple internet safety rules for teens.
* If your teen does want to meet someone from the internet, ensure you act as a chaperone. If your teen feels embarrassed to be seen with you for such a meeting, make sure you are around for any emergency situation, even though the other person may not be able to see you. The internet safety tips for teens should be taken seriously.
Keep parents in the loop: Regularly chat with your teen about the kind of websites they visit, without sounding judgmental.
* Ask your teen about the websites they visit or anything new their friends may have recommended. Take them into confidence and ask them to show you the website. If at all that is not possible, check out the website yourself and see if it looks safe.
* If you feel it is not a safe website and your teen should stay away from it, have an honest discussion and tell your teen why you feel the same. Tell him how some shady websites can hack into their computers and cause real damage. Also tell them about how certain websites can actually be involved in illegal and dangerous activities without seeming so. The teen internet safety is very important.
Teach the difference between real and fantasy: Tell your teen about the difference between real identities and fake made-up identities.
* Encourage your teen to spot the difference between a real personality and a fake one. Show your teen how many people in common online spaces, like a chat room, will say anything just to sound good online. The internet safety for teenagers should be there at all costs.
* Do a live experiment with your teen and send out a message posing as a younger person or teen. Once your teen gets chatting, show him it was you who was using the profile, just to show that people do these things in real life. Make sure you do not get too chatty and stop the online conversation before your teen starts talking about personal things.
Stay away from downloads: Make sure your teen does not download anything from any site without checking with you first.
* It can be a little difficult to ask your teen to share all online information with you, but convince and educate them about sites that are risky and should be avoided. Tell them that most download sites have some or other virus that can get into their machine.
* Tell your teen about safe downloading practices and how to install various anti-virus. Online safety for teens is very important for their physical safety. Your teen will try and experiment on the internet, even though you may always keep an eye on him. Talk to your teen and be open and honest, instead of judgmental or critical. If possible, lock access to certain sites that you know can cause potential harm to your teen.The writer is an online activist and contributor at www.momjunction.com