Tips for parents with teens

It's a different world with teens, so here are some great tips to help you support them to become safe and responsible online users.

Stay involved

Stay involved in their use of new technologies. Chat to them about the websites they use, including their social networking and gaming sites and, if they agree, ask them to help you set up your own accounts to better understand how the websites work.

Encourage them to use privacy settings on social networking sites and restrict online information to viewing by friends only, and to screen who they accept as friends.

Remind them to create screen names or IDs that do not indicate gender, age, name or location and are not sexually provocative.

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Think ahead

Encourage them to think before they post information – ask questions like: Who might see this, could it be misread by others? Am I creating the right image for myself socially and for work and school opportunities?

Ask them to think about the images they upload of themselves and others, to ensure they aren't exposing themselves to risk through provocative images, and that they aren't compromising their privacy or others' privacy.

Advise them to keep their online friends online. If they want to meet someone they haven't met in person, encourage them to ask you or another trusted adult to go with them and to meet in a public place during the day.

Be proactive

Talk about cyberbullying before it happens and discuss strategies that you are both comfortable with, so they know what to expect if they do report concerns to you.

Consider using filters to help manage their online access.

Recommend that they avoid responding to negative messages and to actively block and report abusive people to website administrators. Encourage them to tell you, or another trusted adult, about such incidents and to save negative messages for reporting. Save the messages for them so they don’t have to view them again.

Support positively

If they encounter issues online, express your support for them and help them stay connected to supportive friends and family, both online and offline – this is vital to protect against longer term negative impacts.

If they show changes in behaviour or mood that are concerning, explore your concerns with them or seek professional support. Kids Helpline and eHeadspace provide free, confidential online counselling, and their school may also be able to help.

Help them to report incidents of serious cyberbullying.

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