Protect teens by helping them safely navigate social networks with these essential guidelines
You wouldn’t let your kid drive without a license. Maintain the same parental vigilance online with these smart safety tips.
1. Set limits. Lay down household rules on computer use, including what sites are forbidden, how long kids can stay on and what time they need to log off at night.
3. Stay connected. For your child’s safety, it’s important to check in on her online activity from time to time. Ask for her username and password or become her friend on Facebook so you can vet the company she keeps.
4. Keep talking. Ask questions often, such as who your child’s online friends are and how many he has. If he lists several hundred, be concerned. Nobody has that many friends in the real world—he might be “friending” strangers.
5. Warn against predators. Talk to your child about online dangers, insisting that she never “friend,” click on links from, give her address to or meet up with anyone if she doesn’t already know the person.
6. Watch for signs of cyberbullying. Encourage your child to come to you if he is harassed online. If he suddenly withdraws, limits his computer use or appears anxious, nervous or sick, your child might be experiencing bullying. Go to onguardonline.gov for tips on how to help your child.
7. Be open. Instead of letting your vulnerable youngster disappear into her room with her own computer, maintain a family computer in a main living area.
8. Discuss consequences. Young people might not understand how a mean comment or lewd photo can come back to haunt them. Point out that your children’s online behavior could get them in trouble at school or keep them from the college—or job—of their choice.
9. Install security software. If you’re worried about your children’s activity online, consider installing Kaspersky Pure Total Security for home and families (usa.kaspersky.com), which offers comprehensive PC protection, parental monitoring, data encryption and more.