3 Tips for Protecting Your Teen from Online Predators
There are lots of things to worry about when it comes to your teen’s internet use – everything from Internet addiction to cyber bullies. But there’s probably nothing scarier than the worry about online predators – faceless, anonymous strangers that are looking for any information they can use to exploit your child. It’s easy to feel helpless against that kind of threat. After all, you don’t know who these predators are or where they are, but you know they can reach your teen anywhere they happen to be, through their mobile device or computer. But there are things that you can do to protect your teen. Here are some tips that can help:
Know the Red Flags
Isolation and excessive internet use can both be signs of trouble.
Online predators typically don’t seem like predators to teens. They work to gain your teen’s trust, then use that trust to reach their own ends. This is called grooming, and there are signs that you can look for that can let you know if your teen might be being groomed by an online predator.
Make sure your children know what to do when they receive inappropriate messages.
It’s important to have frank conversations with your teen about the potential dangers of Internet use. Make sure that they are aware that there are predators out there. Talk about what inappropriate contact online looks like, and what your teen should do if they experience it.
Perhaps most importantly, you should monitor what your teen is doing online. Monitoring is not the same as spying, and you shouldn’t do it secretly. In fact, it should be a rule that you have access to your teen’s devices and know their passwords, and you should use that information to check on your teen’s online activities.