The younger generation has gone crazy with internet-enabled gadgets. The extent of their addiction to these gadgets has even given rise to new terminologies and medical conditions. They seem to have more friends online than offline and are constantly in conversation with one person or the other online.
Teenagers especially are more prone to hanging out online on social media and gaming sites. However, their innocence can often be misused and abused by people with perverted minds. While teens are averse to being controlled in any way, they do need to become aware of using the internet safely. While most would have heard about computers being hacked or identities being stolen, there is no end to the variety of cybercriminals out there. Aside from malware, hackers and spammers, there are also online predators just waiting to pounce on your teens.
Here are some internet safety tips for your teen:
When creating your profile, don’t give out your full name or mention your date of birth. Don’t post photos or videos without parental permission. Avoid mentioning your phone number, address, neighbourhood or school online. Just because someone asks for personal information, doesn’t mean you have to give it! Keep your identity private.
Never give out your username or password to anyone – including close friends. You wouldn’t want someone to pose as you and post obnoxious things online that could get you into trouble with your parents, school or the law!
Avoid making friends you don’t know offline. And never agree to meet them – unless in a public place like a mall, and with full knowledge of your parents and friends. Many people aren’t who they pretend to be online.
Don’t shop online without ensuring it’s a secure website. Also, don’t fall for any tantalizing free offers that come with some sites – they will usually ask you for personal information which can be misused.
Be careful which sites you visit. Even unknown emails can appear in your inbox with attachments which contain viruses or malware. Never open mail from people you don’t know.
You might be the recipient of bullying or insulting messages online – whether as texts, emails or on social networking platforms. Don’t respond. Instead, inform an adult – can be your teacher or your parents. Most social networking platforms have age limits, do stick to their requirements and protect yourself!
The internet is the big brother, always watching what you do online and making memories. Ensure you don’t engage in any risqué behaviour online which could come to haunt you years later.