Teens (ages 13-17)
Teens are developing even greater independence and this is reflected in their online lives. With that independence comes responsibilities, including being careful in their online world. By now most teens have created at least one if not several accounts on social networks. Some kids friend their parents without difficulty while others resist the online connection strenuously. Still other teens create a “fake” profile that they use to friend and connect with parents and family while the real and more questionable action is happening on another account. Using a program like Norton Family allows a parent to spot that sort of subterfuge.
So what’s the big appeal of social networking and other teen online interests? With screen names, memberships, blogs, profiles, and other Internet elements that they visit daily, teens communicate the details of their lives with each other. Digital traces of their thoughts can be left all over the web. But often, they forget that it only takes a few seconds to post a picture or status that will forever be there for all to see.
To create awareness on Internet safety, you might organize Internet Safety Presentations at your school through the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, Cops for Kids Safety, the Canadian Safe School Network or the local police service. You may find your kids actually pay more attention to the same information when it comes from outside the family.
Off to University and Beyond
As your teen grows up and leaves home, whether for school or work, they will need to understand the additional adult responsibilities to be found in the online world. That includes protecting their privacy, especially their Social Insurance Number (SIN) and financial information; preventing identity theft; and related risks to their credit history, which is particularly important for a young adult. If your teen is using a laptop at university or college or in their new job, make sure they understand the added risks of using wireless connections and that they purchase the necessary security software, including a reliable backup solution. They might be tempted to skip these optional items, so it’s good to insist on vigilance when it comes to their laptop’s security.