The internet can be a scary place these days, especially for teens who do not fully understand all of the threats that can come from using social media. It can be hard to navigate all of the pressures and difficulties involved with online profiles, so we have compiled a list of ways to help you and your teen feel more secure.
Here are some steps you can take to keep your teens safe online:
- Let Them Access Social Media on a Shared Device or App
Sharing a tablet or other device with your child can be a great way to keep them in check. Teens likely are not going to be looking at anything they aren’t supposed to if they know that you’ll be using that same device later. Also, if you have shared family apps then people are going to be less likely to inappropriately contact your page.
- Monitor Their Activity & Accounts
If you don’t want to share apps or devices with your children, then make sure that you are thoroughly monitoring all of their accounts. Check their recently added friends, any messages they might have sent or received, any photos that they have posted, posts they may have interacted with, etc. There are so many ways for your children to interact on social media, so make sure to check closely and often.
- Stress Stranger Danger
It is very important that your children know not to trust strangers on social media. Make sure to explain to them that just because someone seems nice and non-threatening doesn’t mean they can be trusted. Consider not allowing them to answer messages or accept friend requests from people they do not know. You might even want to think about putting a rule in place saying that they cannot accept messages or friend requests without your approval first. Scammers often attempt to start up a friendship in order to get private information.
- Make Sure They Know What Information to Keep Private
There are many things you want to make sure your child knows not to share on social media—phone number, address, etc. However, a popular social media scam aims to take your financial information. The scammer will hack into someone’s account and message everyone on his/her friends list about a great deal on a popular product, in hopes people will fall for it and give their credit card information. Another scam comes from ads. Hackers will create an ad for a product and target teens in hopes they buy it. It is crucial to make teens aware of this and warn against ever giving out private information on social media.
- Be Honest About the Reality of Social Media
It is important that your child knows that social media is not an accurate representation of real life. Most people are only going to post the highlights of their lives and nothing else. Social Media can have a huge impact on your child’s behavior and mental health so making sure they understand this early on will be extremely important. Instagram has been testing different ways to combat this issue, including hiding the number of likes a post gets. Hopefully, with more awareness, teens, parents and social media companies can be at the forefront of the issues.
- Put Protection in Place with SkyBest Parental Controls
With SkyBest Internet Guardian, you will be able to block websites based on content as well as set time-of-day restrictions for your child’s internet use. This gives you the peace-of-mind knowing that even if you aren’t able to monitor their activity, there are certain sites they cannot access at a certain time of day, or get to at all. For more details about this great tool click here!
Letting your teen loose on social media can be daunting. Thankfully, there are small steps you can take to give you the reassurance you need so that your teen can enjoy his or her social media account while staying safe. To sign up for Internet Guardian or update your service, give us a call at 1-800-759-2226 or visit us online.