As your child becomes a teenager, it’s likely the internet will be a part of their daily life. They’ll adapt quickly to new technology and use it to communicate, socialise and create. Most teenagers have access to the internet using a smartphone or tablet, and use a wide range of social networking sites as a vital part of their relationships with others.
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Watch e-safety tips with our interactive video
This video helps you understand what you can do to give very teenagers the best experience of going online. The clickable links will lead you to more information.
Internet safety checklist for teens
Keep talking and stay interested in what they’re doing. Don’t be afraid to bring up challenging issues like sexting, pornography and cyberbullying. It could be embarrassing, but you’ll both benefit from the subjects being out in the open.
Keep their information private
Your child can set privacy settings on most social networking sites so that only close friends can search for them, tag them in a photograph or share what they’ve posted.
Stay safe on the move
Use safe settings on all mobile devices but be aware that if your child is accessing the internet using public WiFi, filters to block inappropriate content may not be active. Some outlets, like McDonald’s, are part of family friendly WiFi schemes so look out for Mumsnet Family Friendly WiFi and RDI Friendly WiFi symbols when you’re out and about.
Talk to your teenager about being responsible when they’re online. Children often feel they can say things online that they wouldn’t say face-to-face. Teach them to always have respect for themselves and others online.
Talk about online reputation
Let them know that anything they upload, email or message could stay around forever online. Remind them they should only do things online that they wouldn’t mind you, their teacher or a future employer seeing. Get them to think about creating a positive digital footprint.
Discuss with them adjusting your parental controls to match your teenager’s level of maturity. Have a chat about it first – don’t turn them off completely without careful consideration and discussion.
Show you trust them
If you can afford to, give them a small allowance that they can use for spending online so they can download apps, music and films for themselves, from places you agree together.
Learn about what teens might be doing online
What issues might affect teens?
- Ofcom Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report (Oct 2014) p.138, Figure 98
- Ofcom Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report (Oct 2014) p.117, Figure 78
- Childline (2014)