Technology has improved dramatically in the recent decade, and young people have virtually unlimited access to the Internet 24/7. The Internet can be a source of many wonderful things, but it can also be a dangerous place. Help your teen avoid cyber-risks before they happen:
Talk to your teen about Internet dangers. Show examples from the news.
Make sure your child feels comfortable coming to you with anything that makes him or her feel uncomfortable online. Often children do not go to their parents out of fear of punishment. Agree not to overreact if your child comes to you with something – the goal is to help each other and stay safe. Talk to your children about the long-term consequences of putting too much personal information on the Internet.
Learn about the Internet yourself – read articles about Internet safety, digital foot prints and Internet predators. Share the information with your child. Make sure that he or she realizes his or her digital footprint (all the things posted, tweeted, texted, and even things others post about them) will essentially remain in the cyber world indefinitely. Stress the long-term consequences of putting too much personal information on the Internet.
Many students do not realize this, but college admissions officials and potential employers frequently check the digital footprint and online reputation of candidates and may reject candidates because of their online profile.