Teenagers are one of the most savvy and connected age groups, with 93 percent of them hopping online at least once every day, according to Pew Research Center statistics for 2004 through 2009. Explore Internet use among teenagers to understand the magnitude of influence and learn how to protect your teen.
Use of Internet
High school teenagers use the Internet for a variety of purposes. Teens can surf online to do schoolwork, search for information, connect socially with friends, watch programs and movies, play games and interact in chat rooms, states the Common Sense Media website. With the increased connectivity of teens, they are often on the leading edge of technology, experiencing and experimenting with the newest fads and releases available online.
It’s common for teenagers to misunderstand the potential seriousness of privacy issues with Internet use. Before a teen begins spending time online, educate your child about how to stay safe and protect privacy. By keeping full name, contact information, social security number, family information, financial information and passwords confidential, teens can stay safer online. The KidsHealth website recommends that parents teach teenagers to keep all private information off the Internet.
Chat rooms can be risky, especially for young people. If a teenager visits a chat room, coach the teen to select a username that does not indicate gender or age, counsels the KidsHealth website. Tell your teen to keep friendships made on the Internet on the Internet and not to transfer these friendships into face-to-face encounters. Instruct your teen that if she ever encounters an exchange or situation online that makes her feel uncomfortable, she should disengage and come to tell you about it.
It’s possible for teenagers to encounter cyberbullying on the Internet. Cyberbullying involves using the Internet to share information or spread rumors that will embarrass or hurt another person, states the National Crime Prevention Association. Cyberbullying may occur on social media websites, via email, in chat rooms or on blogs.
Teenagers may not understand how the way they use the Internet currently can affect them in the future. Explain to your teenager that any information, photos or videos they place on the Internet can have an impact on them in the future, warns the Common Sense Media website. Even if a teenager later removes or deletes information, once the information hits the web, it is impossible to control where it goes or who sees it. Future educational institutions or potential employers may find negative information placed online with simple Internet searches.