Tuesday 5 December 2017

8 Simple Tips for Keeping Your Teen Safe Online

When I was a teen there was no Internet, and no mobile phones. A mobile phone was a little green piece of plastic, the size of a credit card that afforded you a set amount of credit to make calls from a public card phone. It was the thing of it's time! No messing around trying to find change to put in the pay phone and then dropping the next coin just as the pips went off to warn you your credit was running out. Nope, we just went to the special card phone and popped in our bit of plastic. All very high tech.

Because we had no mobile phones, or computers we spoke to one another. You would arrange to meet somewhere at a given time and then you just took for granted it would happen. No texting to say you're on your way, or you got held up. Sharing a photo, meant getting the film from your camera developed at the chemist and then showing the prints to your friends and family by passing them around.

Keeping safe for us, meant, not going near the big kids, not walking down lonely dark alleys, not talking to strangers or taking anything from them, blah, blah, blah.

I'm not saying it was better back then, but perhaps it was simpler. Or at least keeping ourselves safe was simpler. Whereas, we only really had to worry about keeping safe outside of our homes, our children now have access to so much social media that their safety in the home cannot be guaranteed.

This is why as parents, it's vital we keep up to date with the latest e-safety news because it's a fast paced, and ever changing world. There are some things that will remain the same though, and which you should speak to your child about on a regular basis if they are going online, regardless of their age.

1) Keep your accounts private and have your location set to off. Big issues with location on Snapchat, anyone can see where you are. Turn it off.

2) Never add anyone you do not personally know, even if it is a friend of a friend. If you haven't met them in real life they have no place in your online life.

3) Never ever give out your password, not even to your best friend in the whole world. What's the worst that can happen? Someone could go into your account and cause a whole lot of trouble for you.

4) Photos. Be careful what you share. Once you've put it on the World Wide Web it is there forever. Which leads us nicely to...

5) Never ever ever share photos that are inappropriate and never ever be pressured into doing so. If someone asks you to do anything online you are not comfortable with, report them, block them and tell an adult.

6) Do not give out any personal details, phone numbers, address etc. Anything someone could use to locate you off line. Don't share it.

7) Never arrange to meet anyone you met online (refer back to number 2). People can be very deceptive online, very easily. You can never 100% know to whom you're speaking.

8) If you are being bullied online, screen shot the messages, block them and speak to a trusted adult.

This list could well go on an on, but these are the things I go over regularly with my girls. It works. We had an incident a couple of years ago when someone approached my eldest and some of her friends online. Because we talk about it at home, and it's discussed regularly at school they knew what to do. She didn't come to me, but she did go to her pastoral support team at school and they in turn contacted the parents. I dread to think what might have happened if they weren't so clued up on the dangers of the online world. Thankfully, they did.

Further reading for parents:

internet matters.org

NSPCC Online Safety


  1. Hi Lisa, we did grow up in a simpler time ( I remember those phone cards too! Before that it was an emergency 2p in my pocket). Technology, as with everything has it's pro's and con's, but talking can help to keep our youngsters safe by making them aware of the dangers. Having older children and living on an island certainly helped us get through safely (we are so behind the times here, it's scary!). I don't envy parents having younger children in the UK now.

    Thank you for linking up with the #MMBC.


    1. Glad I'm not the only one who remembers the phone cards x