Blog4Safety’s main focus is work-related safety; however, we do receive other articles that refer to other types of safety.  Since it the goal of everyone to teach their teens to be safe on the internet, these tips may help them not only now, but when they are working in their chosen occupations. pat

The Internet is enormously powerful in terms of letting people find anything they want online. The problem is that younger people, including especially teens, could end up with a lot of trouble when it comes to using these options. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make sure nothing bad happens and that your teenagers stay safe.

Talk to Them

As is the case with a lot of safety issues when it comes to younger people, the most important thing is to make sure they’re informed on the matter. It may not be simply that teens tend to make poor decisions when it comes to online shopping, it might actually be that they just don’t know any better. They might not have any idea about what can happen if they aren’t careful when making purchases online. There are many stories online about teens who cost their parents thousands of dollars on Ebay because they didn’t realize that it cost real money to obtain the items they were bidding on.

Avoid Debit Cards

One thing that is definitely true is that you should have your teens avoid using their debit cards when making online purchases. When it comes to credit cards, most of them have guarantees when it comes to fraudulent online purchases. Debit cards often don’t have such protections.  Additionally, since debit cards are connected to actual money instead of just credit, anyone who gains access to a debit card due to your teen using it on a bad site online can instantly steal all of the money in the account.

Avoid Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi hotspots are great for getting free Internet access in a pinch, but they aren’t so good when it comes to Internet safety. It’s entirely possible for hackers who have the right equipment to steal debit card, credit card, and other information from anyone who uses a public Wi-Fi spot. They aren’t secured against this kind of thing, and most of them don’t use any encryption whatsoever. This means that the smart thing to do is to have your teen only do their shopping from secured locations.

Trusted Retailers

One of the biggest problems with online shopping is that there are a lot of sites out there that are extremely unreliable. If your teen purchases something from one of these sites, all sorts of bad things can happen. It’s entirely possible for a teen to have their credit card or debit card information stolen from a site that looks like a store but that is actually simply a scam. One of the best ways to avoid this problem is to make sure that your children only shop from trusted retailers. These might include sites like Walmart, Best Buy, and so on. If you’re not sure about it, caution might be a good approach. You can usually check sites using various programs designed for the purpose such as McAffee.

Personal Information

Some sites will ask for a lot more information than is required. It’s a good idea to have teens only fill out the information that is absolutely required in order to make the transaction go through. This is usually indicated by stars. Any information that isn’t needed can be left blank safely.

This advice also applies to anyone making their own site with a website creator. It’s important to choose one that will be safe.  This is actually one of the ways that teens can tell how safe a site is, by looking at what sort of website creator was employed in its creation since many sites will have seals to this effect.

Thanks to Marianne Ross for the valuable advise that we can all use! pb