Teens are considered Digital Natives, as they have always had computers in their lives. Digital devices are integral tools for your child’s academic pursuits, entertainment and social lives. While technology use can unlock wonderful opportunities for communication and discovery, it also leads your child into dangerous territories. Through their digital device, your teen will be more susceptible to cyberbullying, identity theft, inappropriate content and unsafe interactions with online strangers. As a parent, you want to ensure your child’s safety both in the physical and the digital world, which is why you should monitor their online activity. Here are some reasons why it is appropriate and necessary for parents to keep an eye on their teen’s digital lives.
In a 2015 survey, conducted by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers found that 16 percent of high school students were bullied electronically. Cyberbullying occurs on digital devices through texts, apps, online social media, forums and gaming. It is a form of harassment that involves using personal information to inflict embarrassment or humiliation on an individual or group. Cyberbullying can negatively affect your child’s mental health, their academic and professional opportunities and their social lives. Oftentimes, cyberbullying goes unnoticed because it is contained and hidden within the digital world. You should monitor your child’s online interactions with their peers, so you can see if your child is at risk of being involved in cyberbullying. Use an app like Net Nanny to keep track of their social media use, text messages and their contacts. You can set up the app to detect harmful or inappropriate language that is present within your child’s digital apps or texts, so you stop cyberbullying before it causes any serious harm.
Your teen shares a lot of personal information online. Sometimes they may over-share and put themselves and your family at risk of identity theft. Identity theft can result in someone using your identity as a means to infiltrate and exploit your financial funds. Keep your information, data and money safe with an identity protection service. A quality service will scan your accounts for any threats of identity theft and alert you of suspicious threats by text, email or phone. If your child’s or family member’s identity is stolen, these services will fix it and reimburse funds stolen.
Online Stranger Danger
Not everyone has good intentions, when they interact with others on the internet. There are unfortunately individuals who use the internet to engage in inappropriate conduct with others, especially underaged individuals. Make sure your teen is aware that online stranger danger is something that they must be aware of. Teach your teen that they should never interact with someone who they don’t know, and that it is harmful to provide any personal information on any social media outlets, blog posts or forum comments.
The internet is full of valuable content that will keep your teen entertained, help them engage in their academic work and foster their ability to find information that supports self-sufficiency. However, there is also content on the internet that is not age-appropriate and could expose your child to mature or traumatizing media and information. Talk with your child about website restrictions and how to use their digital device in a responsible manner. You can enable parental controls on their phone, by adjusting their settings, so they only have limited access to their apps and age-restrictions on their media content. You can also use a parental control software to help you keep track of the content your teen sees.