Risks of Internet use by adolescents are an intensification of risks of media and society at large, but they come in forms that adults may not be familiar with and did not experience when they were growing up. When using the internet today, teens may come across material that is inappropriate and disturbing, including sexual, violent, drug-promoting, or otherwise offensive images and messages.
Some experts say that about 42% of kids report being bullied online, so it is important for parents to teach their children about internet safety. While chat rooms are considered to be the most dangerous, social networking platforms can also provide a perfect opportunity for attackers to find their victims, leveraging what users assume to be a “safe” environment. Attackers employ various techniques to build up their follower list, including poisoning trendy topic threads, or initiating other campaigns which can increase the visibility of their tweets, and therefore draw users into suspicious sites, malicious downloads or other malevolent activity.
Parental controls and filtering software also can help you protect your daughter from online predators and inappropriate adult content. It is also very important to talk to her about the dangers of interacting with strangers online and remind her that people online often don’t tell the truth. Also make her aware that while some online solicitation is from friends and acquaintances, often it can be from people unknown to you and that this can come with a great deal of online harassment. Discuss with your teen how to handle these particular situations in a constructive manner.
If and when your teen admits to receipt of unwanted internet material, use the admission as a forum to talk about internet safety.
It may also be necessary for some parents to monitor the use of the internet of their teen. Multiple sites help parents monitor internet use. One online resource for answering questions about Internet safety, computers, and the Web is at http://www.netsmartz411.org/.
Also the FBI offers a guide to help adults understand the complexities of online child exploitation at http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/parent-guide/parent-guide.
Information Last updated 9/11/14
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