Raising teens presents some special challenges for parents. You know that your child still needs your protection, but teenagers are growing more concerned with their independence and at times want to be on their own. Furthermore, teens today are more increasingly involved with social media, which means they are susceptible to those who may have an identity other than what they claim from behind a computer screen. Of course, there are ways you can keep your teen safe both at home and when he or she is online. You need to make your teen aware of a few things so that he or she stays safe.
1. Some Information Should Not Be Posted on Facebook
You would be hard pressed to find a teen that is not connected to Facebook.com in some way. Even though users must be at least 14 before creating an account, you will still find lots of teenagers using the social medium. However, there are a few things you need to make sure you tell your teen not to post on the site. These include:
- Explicit or Potentially Embarrassing Photos
- Extended or Short Vacation Plans
- Home Address
- Mother’s Maiden Name
- Phone Number
- Photos of the Home
- Place of Birth
- Searchable Public Profile
Information such as this can be used by identity thieves and burglars. Furthermore, this type of information can leave your teen as a target by pedophiles and stalkers. You can find more information about what not to share on these kinds of networks on sites such as howstuffworks.com.
2. Know How to Use a Home Security System
You may invest in a wireless home security system such as those you find at lifeshield.com to protect your family. However, you need to consider that your teen can be home alone at certain times and may need to get in and out of the house securely when you are not there. In this case, you need to trust your teen with any security codes needed for safe entry into the house. You may also have to impose some ground rules such as limiting the amount of guests your teen can have over at one time while you are away and not allowing guests in certain areas of the home or property.
3. Be Careful About Using Apps
Since smartphones and mobile devices continue to grow in popularity, you will find that many teens are using them to document every aspect of their lives in cyberspace. This can be especially dangerous when using geo-location apps and services or services such as Foursquare. A friend can check in to your home and make it a public location with this kind of app. While these may be fun for your teens to use and tell everyone where they are and who they are with, they can let cyber stalkers keep track of them and also inadvertently announce when they are and are not home. You need to make your teen aware of how social media is connected to home security.
Jennifer Kurtz is a stay-at-home mom who writes about Technology and Lifestyle on her blog. She worked in marketing before her son was born, and keeps up with the tech field through her blog. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, her 2-year-old son, and a cat named Einstein.
Jennifer, this is excellent advice for the parents of teens. Our world has become too dangerous to take chances, and parents should monitor what their teens are doing online, and other social medias, as much as possible. Thanks again. pb