Stranger Danger in the Digital Age: Nine Internet Safety Tips for Teens

Teen at school computerThere’s no doubt that the Internet, when in the wrong hands, can become a scary place where not everyone has the best of intentions. Today more than ever, teens and younger children need to learn not only how to handle strangers face-to-face, but also how to protect themselves from strangers on the Internet.

According to a recent study from the Pew Research Center, 92 percent of teens report going online daily. Yet, a child sometimes doesn’t even have to communicate with a stranger directly in order to give information that could be harmful.

Talk with your child about the following nine Internet safety tips for teens and other children, to start a conversation – if you haven’t already – about the importance of protecting oneself from online strangers.

  1. Never post personal information online. This includes, but not limited to, cell phone numbers, home phone numbers, and your address or your current location.
  2. When creating a screen name, do not include personal information, such as your last name or date of birth.
  3. Censor your photos – they can often provide clues to personal information. For example, posting a picture of yourself in your varsity jacket can show a stranger the school you attend and the activities that interest you.
  4. Never send photos to people you meet online.
  5. Do not meet in person with someone you “met” on the Internet. If someone asks to meet you, tell a trusted adult right away.
  6. Don’t share your password with anyone.
  7. Never download or install anything onto your computer or cell phone without first checking with your parents.
  8. Use privacy settings. They are there for a reason.
  9. It’s not always strangers that you need to be cautious of – always exercise your best judgment. When in doubt, turn to a trusted adult.
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Categories: Health & Safety
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