Teens (14+)

Online safety advice

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.

Internet safety checklist for pre-teens 

Use our list of practical tips to help teens have a safer online experience and build up their resilience to get the best out of the digital world as they grow. You’ll also find a range of helpful tools and expert tips for further support.

Checklist: Supporting teens (14+) online

Stay involved

Keep talking and stay interested in what they’re doing. Don’t be afraid to bring up challenging issues like sextingpornography 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.

Be responsible

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.

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.

Don’t give in

Remind them how important it is not to give in to peer pressure to send inappropriate comments or images. Point them to the Send this instead and Zipit apps which will help them deal with these types of requests.

Why it matters: Facts & Stats

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Device use

of children aged 12-15s who own a mobile are allowed to take it bed with them

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Biggest parental concern

Parents with children in this age bracket tend to have the least awareness of what their child is engaging with online.

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Screen time management

of parents of 12-15s find it harder to control their child’s screen time

Resources document

See our parenting digital natives report to get more insight on parents concerns about their children’s digital lives.

Featured recommended resources

Learn about what pre-school children might be doing online

What issues might affect pre-teens?

Here are some of our favourite resources to help you learn more about e-safety for teenagers and pass on the message to them. We’ve also highlighted some apps to help them navigate the digital world.

Guides and resources for parents

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BBC iWonder Guide

As part of our new partnership with the BBC, we’ve worked together to create an interactive guide to give you practical tips on how you can keep your children safe online. It covers 7 key areas such as “Taking control with tech” and “What kind of parent am I?”.

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Digital Parenting

Vodafone’s Digital Parenting provides checklists and practical advice on keeping children safe online.

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O2 and NSPCC online safety helpline

From setting up parental controls to reporting online bullying, you can call the free helpline on 0808 800 5002, or visit an O2 Guru in store.

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Google safety tools for families

Set ground rules with Google Family Link and use a range of safety tools to help the whole family build good online safety habits.

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O2  & NSPCC NetAware

O2 and NSPCC’s Net Aware is a guide for parents of 50 of the most popular social networks, apps, and games with children. You can download it as an app or visit the site to stay informed.

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Back to school guides online safety guides  – supporting teens

Although digitally savvy teens are the most confident online, they are more likely to experience online issues as they get older. Find out what these are and how you can support them with our guide.

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Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp tools to navigate social media safety

Get tools and tips to support your child’s digital wellbeing on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp

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BBC documentary: Teenage Kicks – Love, Sex and Social media

Get insight on how teens use social media, how they manage romantic relationships and the impact on porn on their understanding of their own bodies. Features teenagers discussing their experiences.

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Parent Info

Parent Info is a collaboration between CEOP and Parent Zone. It provides high-quality information to parents and carers about their children’s wellbeing and resilience. Schools can host the content on their own website and use it in any other ways (in letters to parents etc) that they want.

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Young Minds parents helpline

Young Minds Parents Helpline is available to offer advice to parents and carers worried about a child or young person under 25. Call 0808-802-5544 to get support.

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American Academy of Pediatricians 

Use the AAP’s ‏tool to create a family media plan to help you to think about media & create goals & rules that are in line with your family’s values.

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Mumsnet Guide

Advice and top tips for keeping children under five safe online.

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Guide to Monitoring apps

With the help of Pocket-lint’s Andy Robertson, we’ve given tips on how best to use them and reviewed the top apps available.

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Internet Matters Wellbeing Apps guide

We’ve scoured the best of the net to uncover popular (FREE) wellbeing apps available to download.

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Good App Guide

Use the Good App Guide to get independent reviews of children’s apps, parenting and child development advice. It is run by Fundamentally Children an organisation dedicated to helping children develop skills through play

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BBC documentary: Teenage Kicks – Love, Sex and Social media

Get insight on how teens use social media, how they manage romantic relationships and the impact on porn on their understanding of their own bodies. Features teenagers discussing their experiences.

Online safety activity to do with your child

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BBC Own It

Own it covers everything from online privacy and avoiding malware, through to dealing with everyday dilemmas children face online, as well as having fun. Quick links to charities and organisations like Childline, whose phone lines and online chat can provide urgent support should children need it, will also be available.

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Thinkuknow

Age-appropriate games, activities and information that can teach teens how to keep safe online.

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Stop Speak Support code

Created by young people for young people, the code offers simple steps to take positive action to deal with cyberbullying.

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BBC Bitesize

Part of the BBC’s ‘Bitesize’ resources and suitable for children aged 11-14. An interactive video that helps children to recognise and avoid potentially dangerous situations online.

Apps to help children get the most from the digital world

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For Me – Childline app

Created by Childline it is said to be the first app to provide counselling to young people directly through their smartphone.

Invented by four teenagers who wanted to use technology to address the urgent need for confidential support among young people, the ‘For Me’ app is free to download in the UK and has been specifically designed for discreet usage.

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Zipit

Made by ChildLine, Zipit aims to help teenagers deal with difficult sexting and flirting situations. The app offers humorous comebacks and advice and aims to help teenagers stay in control of flirting when chatting.

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Calm Harm

Calm Harm is an app designed to help people resist or manage the urge to self-harm. It’s private and password protected.

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Popjam

This app aims to build a digital community where children can share art, stories, games, photos and contests that they’ve created with other like-minded children. Children can follow friends, other PopJam accounts, and their favourite band, artist or authors.

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Disrespect NoBody

The Disrespect NoBody website aims to prevent young people from becoming perpetrators and victims of abusive relationships by encouraging them to re-think their views of abuse, controlling behaviour and what consent and sexting – the sending of explicit images by phone or email – means within relationships.

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