Kids have always done foolish things. Now with the internet, it’s serious.
Technology is more available now than it ever has been. We walk around with little miracles of modern science in our pocket, capable of anything from play games and accessing the internet to talking to people around the globe. Having this sort of access to information is a great privilege, and a huge responsibility. For teens, this means knowing how to use their devices and access to the internet safely. Unfortunately, a lot of this information isn’t innate, and many teens are doing some pretty foolish things.
Pictures are forever. That was true even before the internet. However, burn a photo, and it’s gone. No such luck for things posted on the internet. Once it’s up, it’s up for good and out of your child’s hands. Something done in the heat of the moment, a quick thoughtless upload as a joke could have far reaching consequences.
2. Identity info.
Let’s face it, today’s teens are too trusting and haven’t learned how to be protective of their information. Home address, passwords, and SSNs could all be given to what they thought was a friend, but is actually an identity thief or online predator. One wrong move like that, and their future is over before it’s begun.
3. Using the internet to cheat.
For those struggling in school, using the internet to cheat can be much too tempting. Not just subtly searching for test answers, but even going so far as to plagiarize entire papers. The consequences for such actions are different for individuals schools, but it’s not far from expulsion.
Sexting is a growing problem with teens today. What may seem as a fun and harmless way to flirt has actually been causing many teens a lot of grief. Once a text message or inappropriate image is sent, you risk unwanted eyes seeing it. Not only that, but if the teens taking part in this are underage, it counts under the current law as child pornography, which is a felony and can get your friend and anyone who received the photo in serious trouble.
How You Can Help
Many parents have the unrealistic expectation that their teens should simply know how to be safe online, without ever sitting down with them and teaching them how. Parents that get involved in their child’s technology usage do well to prepare them for how to remain safe online.
When it comes to your child’s safety, it’s never a good idea to assume your child knows if it’s never been discussed before. Take the time, talk with them, and show them how to be safe, and both of you can rest knowing their future is secure.
Photo: Flickr/Intel Free Press