I asked my daughter to write a guest post on internet safety for teens. (Well, okay, it was more of a required lesson after a doozy of a slip up while online. We wanted her to do her own research and learn more about online safety and I wanted her perspective to offer other parents.)
In preparation, she spent time online watching many PSAs and learning internet safety tips, but I was amazed to see that in her writing, she focused more on our actions as parents helping her (even though she doesn’t like them and complains!) and she also reflected on her own behaviors.
In addition, I’ve provided some quality links to help you learn some concrete tips, suggestions, educational tools, online rules and some texting acronyms.
I have a favorite line in here – I’ll share with you at the end – priceless insight into the teen mind!
Guest Post by my favorite teen – Ali DeCesare
As a teen, I use a lot of technology in school, for homework, and just in my free time. I’m not as technologically advanced as some kids in my generation, but I do know how to use the Internet, set up a new e-mail address for random things, and signing up for YouTube, Instagram, FaceBook, Twitter, or any other social media.
I don’t think teens understand the danger they may be in when they release even the smallest bit of information on the Internet. That one time you put your first and last name in a post, or one picture of your house, with even just the town or state in the description, it could be the one time it would cost you. There are many Public Service Announcements on YouTube and television that support this idea and others to keep teens safe.
I know as a teen myself that I don’t really want my Mom snooping through my iPod or cell phone, and it gets me irritated when she does. However, after an incident on Instagram with me, I realize that without my mom’s snooping, things could’ve gotten out of hand really fast.
I’m sure everyone goes through the stage of always wanting to be right and completely in control of yourself, (or is that just me?) and when my parents go through personal conversations I have with my friends, it makes me want to be in the right and say that they can’t control me. Deep down I do get that it’s their job (that’s what they tell me) but sometimes I really just want to feel independent and not live in a video game while my parents have the controller. So, sometimes I defy them and always get caught.
Acting defiantly can be dangerous, especially to stubborn teens who always want to be right. Teens may go to extremes to be right and independent. That’s when things can get scary. A parent who knew what was going on would say that their daughter can’t go meet the boy she met on the Internet who “lives down the street.” Who knows who this person might be? But what if no one knew about it to stop her?
I’ve made mistakes a few times with leaking a bit too much information, and thankfully my mom caught it before it was too late. Even though teens may always think that they are right and might know everything about everything, we don’t. Even though we might say differently, we definitely need the help of our parents to lead us as we learn to use our better judgement.
Our parents have been here for longer than us, and chances are, they know a lot more than we do. I like to be right, so this comes from the bottom of my heart when I say that trying to be right can be dangerous. By thinking that we are in charge and not under our parents’ protective wings, it gives us a sense of confidence and self-approval, which can be really positive, but if we think we know it all or can’t get hurt, if we ignore the dangers online, it could lead to bad stuff happening.
I know it sounds silly, but one day, when we grow up and become parents, and raise children, and have our kids act like we do now, we’ll be able to use the tools that our parents teach us now to help lead our kids to safety on whatever technology there is at that time. (And you’ll probably get a phone call from us to say, “I’m so sorry. I get it now.”)
Another You Tube cyber bullying video Ali selected.
Some other great sites:
Great video made for teens: Internet Safety by Josh Shipp
Internet Safety Quiz
Netsmartz.org offers online safety information for parents, educators, law enforcement, teens, tweens and kids
Online Rules for Preteens (good for other ages, too!)
Cyber safety statistics
Internet Safety 101 is a terrific website for parents with lot’s of tools and information – here they list acronyms parents should know.
So did you figure out my favorite line?
“Our parents have been here for longer than us, and chances are, they know a lot more than we do.”
My husband and I got a good chuckle, along with Ali, about this glimpse (reminder) into a teen’s brain.
“And chances are” opens the possibility that teens DO know more than their 40-something parents!
I suppose in some arenas – they may!