The internet and social media has transformed the way that people connect with each other, and no generation has embraced online communication like today’s teenagers. However, there are certain dangerous behaviors that teens can fall prey to unless they are informed and educated about online safety. If you are a parent wondering how to protect your teen girl online, here are 5 tips you can do to keep her safe.
- Don’t share personal information online. From a street address to when you and your spouse are out for the night, personal information should never be shared online, especially on social media. It’s practically an invitation for bad people to enter the home, harass your family and more.
- Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want Grandma to see. This is a good rule of thumb to help teens take a moment to think about what they are putting out into the world. From dirty jokes to sexting, teens can get caught up in inappropriate interactions. If your teen girl wouldn’t feel comfortable with her grandmother seeing what she posts, it shouldn’t be posted. Because images and messages can live for a very long time online, your teen girl should make sure that her communication will be nothing to regret down the road.
- Monitor her online activity. If your teen girl has several social media accounts, make sure you are checking them periodically. Teens are much less likely to be inappropriate or share personal information if they know their parents are monitoring their messages. While you can’t prevent your teen from opening new accounts that you don’t know about, if you are diligent, you can usually determine where your teen daughter is “hanging out” online and keep an eye on things.
- Teach her about cyberbullying–how to recognize it and how to report it. Whether she is a victim or perpetrator, your teen girl will most likely have some experience with cyberbullying. Learning what it is and how to avoid it is critical, but also what to do if she experiences or witnesses cyberbullying. Many states and municipalities are enacting laws on cyberbullying, so perpetrators can be punished.
- Limit her time online by putting restrictions on computers and cell phones. It’s easy for teen girls to get caught up in communicating online for hours at a time, so make the decisions for her on usage. Whether it means shutting of devices an hour before bedtime or creating parental guides or restrictions, your teen girl will develop a much healthier relationship with her online use than if you allowed her unlimited access.
As parents, we can’t protect our daughters from everything in the world that might harm them, but when it comes to online activities, there are definitely steps to take to educate her and teach her how to operate safely, successfully and happily.