How to keep your teen online safe?
In today’s world, our teens are spending most of their time online. Between virtual learning, online video games, and social media it may seem that our teen is always connected. So what are some of the dangers that may be out there and what do we look for as parents?
Threats to our Teens
Two of the most widely discussed concerns for our children online are cyberbullying and cyber predators.
Cyberbullying is quite a common occurrence and just because it is not in person or violent doesn’t mean that it is any less stressful for your teen. Cyberbullying can take place in chat rooms, online games, or any social media app.
Cyber predators are also a concern online. These predators often try to take advantage of our teen’s innocence and trust. They can be present in online games, chat rooms, and other forums.
So what do you look for? How do you know something may be happening?
Signs Something Is Not Right
Is it sometimes difficult for parents to understand our teens’ behaviors? It often seems that they are fighting some type of inner turmoil. Maybe it is just the hormones!
Despite the bumpy road that the teenage years sometimes travel down, there are some signs that can be an indicator that something could be wrong in their online world.
Is your teen trying to hide what they are doing online from you?
Does your teen immediately shut their computer, put their phone down, or quickly hang up a call when you enter the room? This may be a sign that they are engaging in something that they know you will not be happy with.
How angry does your teen get when they are asked to turn off their electronics?
What does your teen do when you ask them to disengage from their online activity. Is your request met with the normal teenage opposition, deep sighs, eye rolls, or does it lead to full-blown temper outbursts, crying, arguing, and meltdown? If these requests are met with new intense emotion it could indicate that something new is going on.
Has your teen all of a sudden presented as increasingly depressed or angry?
The past year has been difficult for most people and I think it is safe to say that at times we have all experienced some sadness and frustration. If you notice that your teen is all of a sudden expressing increased depression and anger it could be a sign that something happened in their online activities.
If you notice any of these changes or suspect that something is going on it is time to check in with your teen and open a dialogue about what they are experiencing.