How do I keep my teenager safe online?

By Kaz Cooke
From the latest edition
of Girl Stuff 13+

How do I keep my teenager safe online?
  • Ask your teenager to think before hitting ‘send’, ‘submit’ or ‘upload’: anything, including a text, message, pic, email, post, tweet, blog, status change or link, can be instantly resent to thousands of people. Do they really want it out there?
  • Only let family members or close friends map, check in or log your teenager’s location. Otherwise – ‘don’t allow’. Check regularly.
  • Make sure any of your webcam vision and video chat can only be seen by you and your own chosen friends. Some nasty types take advantage of being anonymous to ‘troll’, harass and threaten girls and women online, sometimes in a sexual way. Block them if you can. Responding personally will probably encourage them to keep trolling. Keep a record (e.g. screen-shot) in case you need to, or you want to report or take it further with the site or service provider.
  • Don’t allow your teenager to pass on their password to anyone except you.
  • If your teenager is on the younger side, ensure your thumb print is registered on their phone (iPhone 6 and above), allowing you access.
  • Ask your teen to add you as a friend to all their social media. You don’t need to comment or participate, but it may well make them stop and think ‘will Mum and Dad be upset seeing this online?’

More in the book, Girl Stuff 13+: Your Full-on Guide to the Teen Years.