Teenagers & The Internet

So last time we discussed the challenges of having young children who are exposed to the internet – That was the easy part.

I have at least 10 years before I need to worry about my children become stroppy teenagers and what they are looking at online (although my 3 year old has the odd bit of sass).
However, I do have nieces and nephews and friends who are teachers in secondary schools, that tell me the horrors of what kids are up to now-a-days.

It’s not all scary, there’s so much for teens to learn from and a lot of young adults actually make a career of being online – bloggers, vloggers, reviewers and gamers. The world wide web has so much to offer them and their sponge-like brains, all that information at the click of a button!

Teens can learn how to create websites, understand online marketing and build themselves a career from having access to the internet. When I was younger the internet was relatively new and I would spend hours (on a dial-up connection) chatting with friends on MSN and looking up all sorts of things. My parents had no clue how to work the computer let alone know what I could actually access on the internet.

One of my teacher friends has recently given a talk to a class of Year 10 students about being safe online. He said is was shocking to see how many kids didn’t realise that what goes online, stays online. Unfortunately 60% of teens have taken sexy selfies to send to others and don’t take into consideration the risks.

With the internet being a part of their daily life, you need to police it without breaking their trust and invading personal space.
Here are some key points to discuss with your teen;

Cyber Bullying
Something that seems to be growing amongst teens. It’s easy for anyone to sit behind a screen and hurl abuse at someone, anyone in fact. You can read a lot online of how many people are affected by cyber bullying, such as celebrities, politicians and teachers. It’s not ok and it has to stop. Cyber Bullying goes beyond name calling online, it’s stalking, it’s stealing identities, it’s denigration. Everyone has to in some sense police their own online profiles ensuring that their information isn’t going beyond their control.

Online Grooming
This scares me most, like all parents we don’t want anyone hurting our children or crossing any lines. Behind computer screens, live people who are not who they say they are. What might look like a friend or soul mate is actually a twisted human being grooming kids, teens and adults. They will say what you want to hear, they will take the time to gain your trust and convince people to do things that they wouldn’t normally do. If you’re concerned about your child, head over to thinkyouknow.co.uk for help and advice.

Inappropriate Content
63% of teensĀ believe that accessing inappropriate content online accidentally is an issue. Inappropriate content might differ from your views and your childs view. The obvious ones being pornography, dating sites, sites that encourage bulling, eating disorders and terrorism. But there are also unmoderated chat rooms, gambling and media that shows cruelty and violence to people and animals. If your teens aren’t already using a child safe search engine, then maybe now is the time. Check out Kids Search or Swiggle

Online Reputation
60% of teens have taken sexy selfies. That is scary. It’s not just about inappropriate sexy selfies, it’s all content they share on the internet. What goes online, stays online. Future employers will google search your name and see what they find. That could be a video of your teen getting drunk and doing something silly, or finding out they liked a page relating to terrorism. It may be a few years down the line from now, but the longer content stays online, the more chance people have of finding it.

There’s a lot to take in when it comes to teens and the internet. Just ensure that you keep your child safe online just as you do in the normal world.

Feel free to get in touch if you’d like to discuss more cheryl@apex-ecommerce.co.ukĀ