Encourage Cybersafety with Your Tween

Your tween's online safety is important, here's how to minimize problems

You can help your tween manage his online life. Getty Images

As your child grows up and branches out, you as the parent know that there will be influences that you can't control. While your child's online life may seem like something you have little control over, the truth is your child needs your guidance and advice on how to keep safe while engaging in social media, school research and even online shopping. Below are a few tips you can use to promote a healthy online existence.


Make Online Safety a Priority

Don't Share Your Login Details: Your tween should know that her login information should always be kept a secret. Encourage her to keep her logins and passwords from her friends, and to avoid sharing the details with anyone aside from you. If she has trouble remember her passwords, there are several apps that will allow her to keep the information safe and accessible. Avoid using passwords that are obvious or easy to figure out.

Resist Online Peer Pressure: The challenge your tween is most likely to face online is either bullying, or peer pressure to bully or torment someone else. Girls and boys are equally as mean when it comes to singling out others, and taking advantage of another's weak spot. It's necessary that you and your tween have several conversations about what is and is not allowed online, and that he should treat others online as he would treat them in person.

Another good piece of advice: don't post anything that you wouldn't want your grandmother to read. 

Limit Online Time: As a parent it's necessary that you intervene when you think your child doesn't know or understand how to set and follow through on reasonable limits. Your tween can't be online all the time.

It's not healthy and your child would miss out on a lot of important things if he's always looking down at his phone or spending hour after hour engaged in online gaming. Set a reasonable limit on your child's online activities, and follow through on consequences if he doesn't follow your rules. You can always regulate or remove online privileges if your child's attitude or actions violate your house rules. 

Don't Copy, Plagiarize or Cheat: The ease of online research and tutorials makes cheating and plagiarizing so easy for tweens and teens. Some tweens are actually unaware of what plagiarizing really is, and how to avoid it. Take the time to explain that online research is fine, but only if carried through properly. Offer tips on how to tell good websites from questionable ones, and how to avoid stealing the hard work of someone else.

Beware of Your Own Online Habits: Sometimes parents are good at setting a bad example, so you'll need to be aware of your own online habits if you're going to set a good example for your tween.

Be sure you never text and drive, and be sure you find a balance between your online life and your real one. In other words, be the example you want your child to emulate. 

Be Consumer Savvy: If your child wants to purchase something from an online site be sure it is safe and secure. Teach your tween to question sites that aren't well known to you, and make sure your tween doesn't purchase anything unless you've approved the site and the purchase. 

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