With the internet being so easily accessible in modern times, teens have a lot of pressures to face. The internet can be a wonderful place to discover new things, and it can also be a place filled with dangers. By discussing internet safety openly with your teen, you can help them navigate the internet world with awareness and care.
Talk about the Benefits
As you bring up the subject of internet safety with your teen, come from the perspective of the internet having many benefits. This will help your teen to realize that you are not simply being negative about one of the most important parts of their life. Teens nowadays use the internet for anything from gaming to meeting friends. Let your teen know that you realize that the internet has a lot of benefits, and that you are on their side.
Encourage them to use the internet for things they may not use it for already, such as job searches, school reports and information research. This will help your teen open their eyes to new aspects of the internet so that they can use it more fully.
Talk about the Dangers
Although the internet is wonderful in many ways, it holds many dangers. Be honest and upfront with your teen about the dangers of the internet, and give them real-life examples of things that can go wrong, such as stolen identities and young people who have been harmed.
Help your teen navigate the right and wrong way to use the internet. Talk to them about the importance of keeping their real names off of the internet, not messaging with strangers, and never agreeing to meet a stranger in person.
If you approach the issue from a negative place, your teen will likely write off your concerns and all your valuable wisdom on the topic. If you want to help shape your teen’s thoughts in regards to the internet, be positive and encouraging while you talk it over with them.
Ask for your teen’s opinions and thoughts on the matter. Often when we give our young people a chance to talk, we will be surprised at their wisdom on matters. Ask your teen for their own suggestions on how to safely use their computer and smartphone apps, and how you can safely monitor their internet use. Your child can be a wealth of wisdom and lead you to consider a perspective you may not have thought of otherwise.
Let Them Know They Are Accountable
Never be afraid to monitor your child’s internet use. Don’t be sneaky about it, however, or you will quickly lose their trust. Let your teen know that their internet use is open to your eyes.
Depending on the age of your teen, tell them that you require the password of their email and other personal accounts, and inform them that you will be checking it regularly. This way it will not be deceptive on your part, and there will be no surprises that can break your child’s trust.
Internet safety can feel like a headache when you first begin setting boundaries and having discussions, but it will soon be just like any other part of parenting. Internet use is a part of our culture that is not going away anytime soon. With a little knowledge and a lot of communication, you can make internet safety a team effort between you and your teen.