3 Tips to Protecting Your Teenager’s Online Presence Without Being Overbearing
Parenting is all about finding a balance, isn’t it?
We want out children to enjoy freedoms and have opportunities to show their mature side. At the same time, we understand that the world can be a dangerous place and sometimes we have to keep our kids on a short leash in order to keep them safe.
Such is the case of your teenager’s online presence. Teens are serial social media users and can’t stay away from the computer for long, but this increased time spent online is leaving parents prone to tons of headaches.
Distractions. Cyberbullying nightmares. Potential safety snafus from dealing with strangers and other kids online.
At the same time, we don’t want to totally pull the plug on our kids, do we?
Again, it’s all about finding a balance. Thankfully, there are steps parents can take to help secure their teenagers’ online presence without being totally overbearing. Keep the following three in the back of your mind as you secure your child’s online presence without being a helicopter parent.
Protect Their Passwords
First and foremost, passwords are an often-overlooked aspect of keeping your kids safe online. Without proper passwords on desktops, your children could fall prey to phishing scams or hand over your financial information due to a spammy site by accident. Not a risk worth taking, right?
Emphasize what makes a strong password to your children and make sure they’re not telling everyone their log-in info. This advice rings true for their mobile devices, too. Finally, using a free password manager on your family computer is a stress-free way to keep all of your online info safe without having to second-guess what your kids are up to.
Have “The Talk” About Social Media
Keeping teens away from social media entirely is like pulling teeth. That being said, you need to have a stern and serious talk about responsible social media use with your child. While there might be some eye-rolling or huffing and puffing, many teenagers don’t understand the real-world implications of what they post online.
From avoiding anything explicit to needless conflicts or questionable content, try to emphasize that your child shouldn’t say or do anything online that they wouldn’t be able to share with the public. Fostering such a mentality can save you problems down the road and teaches your child to take responsibility for their social media presence.
Don’t needlessly be a social snooper unless you suspect something serious is up.
Simply put, you need to be willing to pull the plug at a moment’s notice. Especially if your kids are glued to their smartphones, bear in mind how pricey such devices are and their respective monthly bills. As a result, stress that your child’s chores and homework should be done if they expect to use the Internet. This old-school form of tough love by following through with punishments teaches your child responsibility and keeps them from being totally distracted.
You don’t need to freak out about letting your child use the web, but you have every right to keep a keen eye on them. With these tips in mind, you can rest better knowing they’re safe without having to hover over them.