This a resource for parents and teenagers alike because staying safe on the internet is a team effort. If this becomes a combative thing, it never ends well for anyone because teens are usually more knowledgeable about technology and how to find loopholes, whereas parents can always play the nuclear option and take away internet access altogether.
We encourage you to work together with your kids or parents to come up with reasonable internet rules. Also, parents should be able to explain why they’re enforcing a rule and teenagers should respect that. It works both ways. Parents want to keep their teens safe, and ultimately teens want to be safe – even if they don’t always realize why certain behaviors can be risky.
4. Start with Parental Controls
You can put parental control apps on different devices including computers and phones, but if your teen is already laughing at this idea it’s because they know that there are ways around that. The real move to make here is to get a router with parental controls, so the parental control happens right at the source of the internet connection, rather than on your teen’s device.
Choosing the best router for parental controls means you can limit things like which sites can be accessed, how often the internet can be accessed, and if there are off-hours (for example, in the middle of the night) where you want to limit the connection. There’s a lot more you can do, so definitely do some research on routers with parental controls.
3. Protecting Accounts
You need to use different passwords for every site, otherwise, you’re putting your accounts at risk. You should have a very secure password for your email account because it can be used to access most of your other accounts if it’s compromised.
Understand that anything you put online could potentially be stolen or accessed by someone without permission, even if it’s set to private or hidden from your timeline because if someone gains access to your account, they can see everything.
2. Understanding Privacy
To follow-up on the previous point, understand that privacy is limited on the internet. Messages you send to other people can be compromised, or even released by those people. Be mindful of what you send in a text, what you say on Facetime, or what you send over Snapchat or Instagram. If you aren’t okay with a lot of people seeing it, you should probably keep it to yourself.
1. Building Trust
Teens need to trust that their parents are looking out for them, but that’s hard to do if the parents haven’t shown an earnest effort to actually understand the technology before making rules about it. There’s a difference between being strict and being a tyrant. Having fair and common-sense rules makes it easier for everyone.
As a teen, you have to follow the rules. Even if you don’t agree with them. If you’re always trying to sneak around them, it means your parents will just try harder to stop you – and eventually, that will mean no WiFi at all. You’re better off playing ball, trying to negotiate, and showing your parents that they don’t have to worry about your grades suffering or you losing all interest in the outside world.