Discussing Internet Safety with Your Teen
Are you a parent? If you are, have you already had the internet safety talk with your child? If you have yet to do so, this is a discussion that you will want to have. Since many teenagers like using social networking websites, online message boards, internet chat rooms, and instant messaging programs, internet safety is a subject that must be discussed.
As nice as it is to hear that you should talk about internet safety and internet use in general with your child, you may be curious as to why it is important that you do so. For your convenience, just a few of the many reasons why you should have the internet safety talk with your child are outlined below.
1 – They May Not Know
How old is your child? If they are just starting to use the internet, they may be unaware of the dangers that lurk on many popular websites, including online chat rooms and social networking websites. If your child has just started using the internet to research school projects, be sure you discuss internet safety with them, as it won’t be long before they realize that they can communicate with and make new friends online.
2 – It Is Your Job, As the Parent
Perhaps, the greatest reason why you should talk to your child about internet use and internet safety is because it is your job to do so. As a parent, it is your responsibility to guide and protect your child. Parents need to set some rules and guidelines with their children and the internet shouldn’t be any different. You don’t have to completely outlaw chat rooms, online message boards, or social networking websites, but be sure that you set clear cut rules that your child will understand concerning their use.
3 – It Will Help to Keep Them Safe
As much as we would all like to believe that the world is filled with nice, happy people, it isn’t. Unfortunately, many of those people, who may be child predators, are finding it easy to target children online. Why? Because the internet enables anyone to create their own identity. While most internet users that you meet online are truthful, all it takes is one online predator to cause serious harm or damage to a family. When you talk to your child about the dangers of the internet, you are keeping them well aware, which can help to keep them safe.
4 – You Can Teach Them What to Do
As for teaching your child what to do online, there are a number of different aspects that should be examined. For starters, teach your child how to properly use the internet, especially chat rooms and social networking websites. Let them know that they cannot discuss personal information or share pictures or videos with strangers. You should also let your child know what to do if they are targeted or harassed by someone online. This should involve coming to you immediately or saving all information, as opposed to erasing it from the computer, until you or the police can examine it.
5 – They Can Feel More Comfortable Talking to You
If your child is in high school or junior high school, they may automatically get defensive when you try to talk to them about internet safety. This is because most kids believe that they already know all that is needed to know and others just assume that you are being an overbearing parent. Despite this, discussing internet safety with your child in a calm and cool manner is likely to make your teenager feel comfortable about the issue. This increases the chances of them approaching you when they run into trouble online.
As you can see, there are a number of reasons why you should talk to your child about internet safety. Although this piece focused on discussing internet safety with teenagers, remember that internet safety is a lesson that can and should be started as soon as your child turns a computer on.
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