fbpx
^ Back to Top
954-260-0805

Cyber Safety

5 Ways to Protect Your Teenager Online

Posted by Sue Scheff on November 14, 2015  /   Posted in Internet Safety, Parenting Teens

Teen Online Safety

TeenOnlineSafetyAn astonishing 75 percent of teenagers have access to smartphones and 24 percent of teens go online “almost constantly.” As a parent of a teenager in this constantly evolving cyber world, it’s overwhelming and frightening thinking of all the potential threats compromising your teens digital and physical security.

A Pew Research study found that 90 percent of children have witnessed or experienced cyber bullying within the last year and a study by Drexel University found that 54 percent of minors have reported sexting.

Here are five ways to protect your teenager online:

Take Advantage of Smartphone Applications

There are a variety of free and paid applications that provide parents with a wide range of access to their teenager’s mobile phone activity.

If you’re concerned about your teen stumbling upon adult content, K9 Browser is a free application that blocks adult content and is available for smartphones, tablets and desktop computers. For more thorough access to your teen’s activity, the Norton Family Parental Control application’s paid version allows parents to see the sites their teen is visiting from the computer or mobile device but also allows you to block sites and see text messages.

Create a Contract

Before your teenager receives their first mobile device or personal computer, create a contract spelling out each of your expectations. According to the Family Online Safety Institute, almost 50 percent of teenagers are not concerned that their online reputation today will hurt future goals and 58 percent feel it is safe to post photos or intimate details online. A written and signed contract makes it very clear to your teenager what your expectations are in regard to online activity.

Stay Informed & Up-to-date

Setting up guidelines, boundaries and privacy software is not enough. The Internet and cyber criminals are changing so fast that as soon as you have a grasp on the newest social media or application and its potential threats or privacy terms, it has already evolved. To stay up-to-date on the latest cyber security news and tips, bookmark LifeLock Unlocked.

Mark All Profiles as Private

The most important takeaway for your teenager, is that nothing is temporary online. Even if they delete a post, a photo or an account, it can be easily retrieved and anyone can copy or save it. Besides filtering what he or she posts, ensure your teenager’s online profiles are private. Do not rely on the site’s default settings and adjust settings accordingly. Stress to your teen that this does not mean what he or she posts is now “safe” but it does make it more difficult for individuals to access.

Safeguards Passwords & Change Them Frequently

Identity theft is just as much of a threat for your teenager as it is for adults. Teach your teen how to choose safe and secure passwords that are changed every three to six months to ensure maximum security. Advise your teen not to share passwords with anyone besides parents or guardians.

Tags: ,,,,

Teens Cyber Safety and Online Privacy

Posted by Sue Scheff on November 01, 2015  /   Posted in Digital Parenting, Internet Safety, Parenting Teens

Teen Online Safety and Privacy

TeensonlinefriendsParents know the things to do keep their kids safe around home, like keeping an eye on them outside, teaching them stranger danger and to travel in groups. But what about in the virtual world?

It’s shown to be just as dangerous, and if certain information gets in the wrong hands, your child, your family, and your identity could all be at risk.

The Web offers a plethora of fun and educational things for kids to do, plus all the social networking that is huge for tweens and teens. But along with that comes plenty of places for danger. Just as parents need to talk to their kids about safety in the everyday real world, they also must discuss safety precautions related to the Internet, and make sure their kids get it.

What can parents do? How do they start the conversation? It is important to cover the dangers – all of them – in age-appropriate language to help kids understand the dangers of giving away information online.

Talk, Talk, Talk

The most important thing parents can do is talk to their kids, tweens, and teens. Make sure they know the dangers that are prevalent online, whether sexual predators, those that want to steal identities and financial information, and any other type of cybercriminal. Make sure to keep lines of communication open so kids feel comfortable talking about anything relating to the Internet that bothers them.

Set Clear Internet Rules

Depending on the kids’ ages, parents may have different rules. Young children should never even give out their name. Once kids get older and more into social media, reinforce the importance of careful posting and sharing – what goes on the Internet is there forever! Nothing personal should be posted or shared, like address, phone number, or credit card information.

Identity Theft

When it comes to personal information, it’s easier than most think to get other’s information. If a site looks fishy, it probably is. Parents need to make sure their kids understand to never give out personal information like credit card numbers, bank accounts, or social security numbers without parental permission, even if they are buying something.

If a child sees something like “accepts credit cards” or “enter information here,” he needs to let a parent know and stop what he’s doing. Once credit card information or other personal numbers are in the hands of others, it’s tough to reverse the damage. The best rule is never give it out.

ParentTeen2How to Start This Conversation

Start talking about Internet safety when kids are young. Keep the computer in family areas so activity can be monitored. As kids get older, reinforce these topics. Let them know age-appropriate instances of what can happen if things like cyberbullying or credit card theft happen. Parents need to let children know that they are always available, even if mistakes are made, so they can solve things together.

The bottom line is: Don’t give out information! Whether it’s social, personal, or financial, kids need to keep this to themselves. Parents should stay tuned in to not only what goes in the world of online security, but also what their kids are doing online. Awareness is key. And, parents, keep reinforcing how important it is to your kids!

Your constant and consistent offline conversations helps keep your teen safer online.

Tags: ,,,

Talking Sexting With Your Teens

Posted by Sue Scheff on October 28, 2015  /   Posted in Digital Parenting

Teen Sexting

SextingDid you know that according to research, one out of five parents send sexual and/or intimate images of each other (considered sexting)?

Of course we aren’t judging parents, we only need to understand that teens are experiencing and experimenting with their sexuality, however at their age, there could be potential legal consequences. It’s never too late to start your sext chat offline to be safer online.

Tito de Morais, The Internet Safety Guy, recently said in a forum, “Kids that are at risk offline will be at risk online, as questionable conduct in the physical and digital world is not mutually exclusive.” After collaborating on several other articles, including the “Cyber-Shield” series, I was thrilled to be a part of Sue Scheff’s most recent contribution to the Huffington Post, Sext Education: Sexting = Cyberbullying. Together, we believe in making a difference by educating students, teachers, parents, and communities about cyberbullying prevention.

In the recent article, we discuss the implications of sexting among teens, and how sexting and cyberbullying = are essentially one and the same. Because of the evolving nature of the online realm, sexting isn’t just confined to text messages: teens are able to use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and other social networks to spread sexually illicit messages.

SextingAlertParents and other adults can make a difference when it comes to building awareness of sexting’s dangers, and it all starts with having the “sext chat” with your children. Here are five tips to get this conversation started:

  1. Start talking: Use current news stories to spark conversation with your kids. Make it relevant to their lives. A recent journal Pediatrics study on teens that sext is a good tool to review.
  2. Just do it: There might never be an optimal time to get the gears moving on the sext talk, so it’s crucial to hunker down, move past any embarrassment, and bring up the topic.
  3. Make it real: Pose the question, “How would you feel if your grandma or grandpa saw that picture message?” We’re all accountable for our actions online and off, even though that notion slips by many teenagers these days.
  4. Address peer pressure: Emphasize that it’s OK for your child to be their own person and not worry about what their peers are doing, especially in regards to sexting.
  5. Give them control: Encourage your children to make the right decisions when they receive a sext. They have the ability to stop the communication right in its tracks.

Now that sexting has extended its bounds from cell phones to social networks, take the time to check out MySecuritySign’s excellent #TakeNoBullies digital responsibility and anti-cyberbullying resources that tie-in directly to sexting.

Contributor: Mike Miles formerly managed social media at SmartSign, a New York City based ecommerce sign retailer and creator of #TakeNoBullies, an anti-cyberbullying and digital responsibility campaign, through its site MySecuritySign. Mike is passionate about writing, digital citizenship, and advocating for a safer internet.

Tags: ,,

Digital Statuses and Your Teen: Red Flags Parents Need To Know

Posted by Sue Scheff on June 18, 2015  /   Posted in Digital Parenting, Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help

Teen Online Safety

sad-status-update-e1301320535379Today our teens live in a digital world that many parents never imagined.  They will vent their inner feeling to strangers, sometimes, before telling their closest family or friends.

“I hate my life”

“When will this end”

“Forgive me”

Many have read the tragic headlines of young teens that have committed suicide and their parents in tears when they had no idea how they feeling, only to read warnings signs on their social media platforms that people missed.

Since teens experience many emotional ups and downs, it can be easy to dismiss most of their dramatic postings as nothing more than normal teenage drama. However, there have been too many instances in recent years when parents had wished they’d paid more attention to what their teenager had posted as their ‘current status’.

Here a few status updates parents should watch for and investigate further.

  1. I can’t take it anymore. Although, this could mean anything from homework overload to sibling irritation, it could also be a cry for help from a teen who is truly overwhelmed with life in someway. It is not a status update that you want to ignore. Parents should take the initiative and find out what prompted this entry.
  2. Text me. This may seem innocent enough, but, for some parents, it may be a signal that their teen may be trying to keep something hidden that needs to be in the open. Privacy and protection are always a fine line to walk with teenagers. Parents, however, should never hesitate to ask about the reason behind such a post.
  3. Really loaded right now. If your teen is high enough to make this post on Facebook without thinking about the fact that their parents might see it, there is drug or alcohol abuse going on. Ignoring these types of problems does not make them go away.
  4. Depressing song lyrics. Song lyrics are popular posts from teens. It may be what they’re listening to at the moment or a song that is running through their head. If the lyrics of the songs are continually negative and depressing, this could be an indication of the teen’s emotional state, as well.
  5. No one understands. This is a common feeling during teenage years, but it is also one that can develop into a true depressive state. Seeing this posted as your teen’s Facebook status should raise enough concern for their parents to pursue the reasons behind the posting.
  6. I hate my life. Again, this is not an unusual statement to come from a teen at different points in their adolescence, however, posting it as your Facebook status is similar to shouting it from the rooftops. It is always better to treat these statements seriously, than to ignore them as a simple impulse statement.
  7. Forgive me, Mom & Dad. This kind of post would be one that should require immediate connection with your child. If it doesn’t mention what they are asking forgiveness for, it may be a subtle plea for you to stop them from doing something terrible. Take this very seriously!
  8. You’re all going to die. In light of the terrible things we have seen happen in our schools, a teen who posts something like this should not be ignored. “I was just joking” is not an acceptable explanation for this type of post. A teen who posts such a statement publicly should expect inquiry from, not only his parents, but school and law enforcement as well.
  9. I wish I were dead. Never assume these statements are words only. Any type of suicidal expression like this should be taken very seriously. Many parents have had the misfortune of finding out that even a verbal statement can be an indication of suicidal thoughts. A public posting of that thought should be taken just as seriously.
  10. I hate my school. The key word in this status update is ‘my’. It doesn’t say ‘I hate school’, it is more specific than that. It would behoove the parents to find out what it is, about the child’s school, that made them post this statement, and what can be done to improve the situation.

FBStatusBe an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier teens.

If you feel your teen needs outside help, never hesitate.  If local therapy isn’t working or your teen refuses to attend, residential therapy is an excellent option.  It is completely different than the weekly hourly session.

Once removed from their environment, teens are better able to reflect and communicate through their issues without being thrown back into it constantly.  Contact us for more information.

Tags: ,,

As Featured On

DrPhil_Season_7_title_card1-250x139oprah-logo-250x1091PLATFORMforgoodParentingTodaysKidssunsentinelGaltimeFoxNews1Forbes-Magazine-Logo-Fonthuffington-post-logo
family online safetyTodayMomsusatodaywashpostabcnewsCNN-living1anderson-cooper-360-logo-250x107cbs_eve_logobostonglobe-250x250nbc6newsweek

..and many more.

  • Follow @SueScheff

  • RSS Sue Scheff Blog

    • Digital Citizenship: The Most Important Thing for a Screen-Using Youth To Learn April 13, 2021
      Young people spend much of their lives in front of a screen, and with the pandemic, that time has increased substantially. Yet, few young people are taught how to be good citizens online, let alone how to balance the time they spend online with all the other parts of life—like sleeping, mealtimes, exercise, and face-to-face […]
    • Summer Camps for Digital Detox March 29, 2021
      Summer Camps to Help Digital Addiction Will a therapeutic summer camp help your teen’s digital addiction? Many teens today have been experiencing depression, anxiety, under-performing in school if not completely failing classes — we’ve even witnessed a rise in truancy and youth that were once excelling that are now barely passing. Internet and cellphone addiction […]
    • Living In A Cancel Culture March 9, 2021
      How the Cancel Culture Can Impact Your Online Reputation The Cancel Culture (formerly referred to as the “call-out” culture) is now how people are using social media to publicly shame (usually celebrities or brands) due to what they deem is a controversial issue or act. Whether it’s politics or the car you drive, it seems everyone has […]

To get help, CLICK HERE or call us at 954-260-0805
P.U.R.E. does not provide legal advice and does not have an attorney on staff.
^ Back to Top
Copyright © 2001-2021 Help Your Teens. Optimized Web Design by SEO Web Mechanics Site Map