Cyber Security for your Teenager

The internet can be a great source of entertainment and knowledge for teens. It is also a way that kids can socialize with friends, even if they no longer live in the same city, state, or even country. Unfortunately, the internet also has many negative aspects that can be a cause for concern.

These negative traits can cause problems that emotionally hinder a child, stunt his or her ability to learn, and may even threaten his or her life. For this reason, parents will not only want to keep their kids safe, but they will want to ensure that their kids understand how to surf the net safely as well.

Monitor Usage and Activity

An important part of ensuring the online safety of one's teen is knowing when they are on the internet and what they are doing while on it. Keeping the family computer in a central location in the home is one way that parents can see what their kids are doing online at any time.

Another way of monitoring internet activity is to join and frequent websites that their kids regularly visit, such as chat rooms and social media websites. By following their kids, parents can see who else is following their kids, who they are following, and their interactions.

Using monitoring software is another great way to keep an eye on teen internet usage. This type of software works by recording key strokes and creating a list of websites that they visit. Some programs even send email reports of internet activity so that parents can keep track of their teens' activity even when they are not at home.

Discuss the Dangers

Teens should be made to understand the importance of following safety guidelines and rules. To do this parents or guardians of teens should discuss the dangers of the internet openly and honestly. There are numerous dangers to review, such the presence of sexual predators who may pretend to be other teens, or who approach them as compassionate adult friends. Warn teens to avoid meeting people whom they've met online. Meeting people who they've met online can result in abduction, rape, or even murder.

Other online dangers include cyberbullying, which can become so severe that it has caused victims to commit suicide. Not all of the threats associated with the internet are physical ones. When a person sends nude or sexually explicit pictures of themselves via the internet, future job prospects and relationships may be in danger.

Teens should also be made aware of how their activities can affect the family as well. Opening email attachments or visiting certain websites can make the home computer vulnerable to virus attacks. Kids should be aware of phishing attacks and spam. Phishing is a term that covers a variety of methods by which cyber-criminals trick people into volunteering sensitive and valuable personal information or account passwords. Spam is unwanted and unsolicited emails that are delivered to people's email accounts. Often spam emails are the vehicle for phishing and other attacks on one's computer.

Importance of Privacy & Password Protection

Both privacy and password protection are two very important issues that teens must understand when discussing internet safety. Instruct teens to not share personal information with people that they have met online. This includes personal information, such as one's date of birth, home address, the school that they attend, phone number, or social security number.

Giving away this information can lead online predators and criminals to one's home or environment. Teens should also never give out their personal passwords to their computer or online accounts. When criminals gain access to important passwords, they can hack into one's banking account and ultimately cost them money.

Open Communication Between Parent and Child

Even after discussing the dangers associated with the internet, parents will want to remain open to further communication with their teens. Kids should know that they can discuss any online concerns or incidents with their parent without fear of negativity, ridicule, or disbelief. Parents can help keep the communication doors open by initiating conversation at various times and listening attentively to what their kids have to say. Parents who interact with their kids in a non-judgmental and supportive way are more likely to have teens that listen and respect what is being said.