Parenting and Social Media -
Parents Should Know About These 5 Signs Of Trouble on the Internet
Internet safety for teens is a tricky topic because there are so many facets involved.
Some parents don’t want to push their kids away by making them feel as though they
can’t be trusted, but at the same time, it is essential to keep an eye on a young person’s
screen time, who they’re talking to in online games, and how they present themselves to
Fortunately, there are several resources available for parents who are unsure of how to
broach the subject of both internet and general safety. This is a great place to start
when you’re ready to have a conversation with your child about their body autonomy,
how to feel comfortable saying “no” in uncomfortable situations, and how to protect
themselves online. Moming 247 also encourages you to be on the lookout for these
signs of possible trouble:
1) Teenage Dating Apps
Like many people these days, teenagers are also looking for love online. And, believe it
or not, there are dating apps designed specifically with them in mind. To them, it’s
completely natural. So many things take place online these days—why not dating? Of
course, these dating apps (which target teens between the ages of 13 and 18) aren’t
inherently evil. However, it’s still important to discuss safety and security if you decide to
allow your teenager to use these apps.
Parents, consider sitting down and having a serious conversation about these apps,
including how to manage expectations when it comes to taking the relationship into the
real world. It’s important to have these conversations free of negative energy. Sit your
teen down in a space you have decluttered and cleansed with a naturopathic remedy to
ensure any bad energy from the previous conflict is gone. Then, make this a two-way
discussion; listen to your teenager, and express your concerns as well.
2) Too Much Screen Time
When it comes to social media and time spent online, it’s important to create a few
boundaries and rules for your child while getting their input. For instance, start a
conversation about how much screen time they should have and ask about their
Some kids use their computers daily at school, while others don’t see a screen
until they get home, so everyone’s needs will be different. Many parents institute a no-
phones-at-the-table rule for breakfast and dinner, and this is a good starting point for
most families because it allows everyone to talk about their day and engage.
No matter how often your kids are online, it’s crucial to talk to them about how much
they share with their friends and followers. This can be part of a broader discussion on
cybersecurity. Make sure they understand the risks involved in accepting a stranger’s
friend request and that they know how to disable location services within their apps.
They should also know about the dangers of “checking in” on social media apps when
they’re in public spaces, even if they’re with friends.
4) Cyber-Bullying and Predators
Oversharing can lead to other detrimental online experiences, such as cyberbullying.
Teach your children to be extremely careful with what they choose to share with their
friends on social media, and talk to them about how to navigate text messages safely.
Make sure they understand that anything that’s put online could stay there for years to
come, even if it’s deleted on their end, and learn what to look for when bullying is
occurring. Tell them that it’s never okay for someone to ask for personal photos or
selfies, especially if that person isn’t someone they know in real life.
5) Phishing and Scams
The internet can be a dangerous place when you don’t know the warning signs. Have
an age-appropriate conversation with your teens about phishing so that they don’t get
tricked into feeling connected with someone who isn’t who they say they are. And tell
them how to identify fake virus warnings, so they don’t get tricked into installing a virus
on your home computer. Tell them to be wary of popups and talk to you before making
any changes. Usually, alerts that promise to remove spyware or malicious programs will
simply do the opposite.
Talking to your teens about their internet use can be challenging, as they may feel
defensive or protective of their phone and computer access. However, by keeping
communication open, you can ensure that your child knows how to stay safe online and
that there is a measure of trust between you.
By Betty Vaughn, a Freelance writer for moming247. You can find her at her blog, Nine to Thrive, where she provides tools to help us live a well-rounded life amidst the demands of career and parenthood.
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