Safeguarding Your Teens from Internet Dangers When They’re Away from Home

Safeguarding Your Teens from Internet Dangers When They’re Away from Home

Teens dominate Internet usage in the United States. With mobile devices, they are on the Internet away from home a lot. This means that parents can’t keep their eye on what they are doing online. Trusting your teens won’t get into trouble online is nice, but with the curious nature of adolescents, parents need to be hyper-vigilant about protecting them. The following are some of the best ways to ensure your teens remain safe while online.

Set Up Parental Controls

Many parents set up parental controls for their teen’s mobile devices. You haven’t yet, do it today. These parent controls can prevent your teens from going on sites that could expose information to them they don’t want to know. They can also monitor what your teen is doing, so you can look to see if he’s been on any inappropriate sites.

Discuss Off-Limit Sites

Come up with a list of types of sites that you do not want your teenager to go on, and then share it with him. The list may include sites with nudity, chats, forums, drug references, etc. This list can be posted in a visible spot in the home as a reminder.

Consequences for going on sites that are the off-limit list should be identified and followed through with if those sites are visited. Consequences can include having all electronics taken away for a week, or a month for repeat offenses.

Remove Data Plan

A teen only needs a phone to call someone for an emergency. Removing the data plan on the phone means he can still call in case of an emergency or to speak to you. It prevents him from going online, though.

Mobile devices should then be left at home, so that he cannot connect to Wi-Fi away from you. While smartphones can connect to Wi-Fi, that setting can be disabled. Ask your cell phone company about this for more information.

Keep Communication Open and Honest

Some troubled teens will feel you are trying to control them, and being a mean parent. The truth is that you care a lot about them, and want to keep them safe. Try to deliver that message to your teen when he retaliates because he’s not allowed to use the Internet away from home.

Some parents will start with the parental controls or the off-limits list before they resort to removing data plans. This can sometimes help parents who are confronted with, “You just don’t trust me!” Sometimes, tough love is the only love that will work.

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