Teens seem to be geniuses and can absorb technology at a far faster rate than their parents. For parents, this can be quite scary as there are plenty of people trying to take advantage of naïve teens online. There are obvious dangers of your teen talking to a predator that wants to harm them physically. Teaching your teens about never meeting someone they met online without a parent present is important.
Plenty of online friendships/relationships are healthy but it is important to take the side of caution as a parent. Teaching your teen what to do and abiding by your own rules can help your family/family’s information stay safe. Below are the best practices for protecting your family and its information online.
Data loss prevention can be aided by investing in web monitoring software for the entire family. Being able to see what your teens are doing online can keep information safe and hold them accountable. Teens can fall behind on schoolwork by pretending to be doing research but are actually on social media/playing games.
The software differs immensely as some have quite a few features while others are basic which allows certain websites to be blocked. Setting blocked websites for certain times of the day is also an option if you do not want your teen on social media when they should be doing homework. Responsible teens can be monitored in a more flexible way as privacy/independence is a part of growing up.
Payments should only go through your device as you know it is going to be secure. A teen could make unauthorized purchases or have an account hacked which can cost the family time and money. There are so many online wallets that notify a person of a transaction that you can keep your family safe. Take the time to routinely change passwords to these wallets to ensure their safety. Running antivirus and security updates on devices that contain payment information should be done routinely.
The truth is that teens are always coming up with ways to hide what they are trying to do. Hidden hashtag meanings are a great example of this as a teen can search for something that you are not sure what it is. Reddit is a great resource for parents as it seems like any question can be answered there in a matter of hours. You will be able to decipher messages that might be coded so as to not create any suspicion. Asking your teen directly is an option as they need to be confronted if they are breaking any rules to do with their smartphone or laptop.
Monitoring your teen’s social media in today’s world can be quite tough. Far too many teens create extra accounts in an effort to try to have only their friends see it. The information that your teen lists online should be limited as they should not list their place of employment or where they go to school. Small things like listing the name of the family dog can be the answer to a security question on a bank or credit card account. Safety is a priority and plenty of predators use social media to access information. Keeping the viewing of the profiles set to private is important. Only accepting friend/follow requests from people they directly know is equally important.
Doing a monthly check of smartphone apps does not mean that you have to snoop through your teen’s device. The important part of looking at their smartphone is to look up the recently downloaded apps. There are companies that have developed apps to be hard to find in order for people to be able to have secret conversations. Take the time to do a bit of research on these apps as you might find your teen is breaking family rules when it comes to their smartphone usage. There are apps that can be used in great ways and in less than desirable ways like that of Discord.
Parents have to be the gatekeepers of family information and the overall safety of the family. Smartphones and devices can be used to be immensely helpful but can also be dangerous. Sitting the entire family down to talk about rules for online behavior might seem overzealous but it is completely necessary. The last thing anyone wants is the family to be in danger or to deal with the nightmare that is identity theft. Take an approach that prevents this rather than dealing with it after it happens!