Guidelines for Parents of Teens
Talk with your teens About What They Can and Cannot Do Online
* Be reasonable and set reasonable expectations. Try to understand their
needs, interests, and curiosity. Remember what it was like when you were
* Be Open with Your Teens and Encourage Them to Come to You if They En-counter a Problem Online
If they tell you about someone or something they encountered, your first response should not be to blame them or take away their internet privileges. Work with them to help avoid problems in the future, and remember – your respond will determine whether they will confide in you the next time they encounter a problem and if they will learn to deal with problems on their own.
* Learn Everything You Can About the Internet
Ask your teens to show you what’s cool. Have them show you great places for teens and fill you in on areas that you might benefit from as well. Make “surfing the net” a family experience. Use it to plan a vacation, pick out a movie, or check out other family activities. Make this one area where you get to be the student and your child gets to be the teacher.
* Think before blocking
There are services that rate web sites for content as well as filtering programs and browsers that empower parents to block the types of sites they consider to be inappropriate. These programs work in different ways. Some block sites known to contain objectionable material. Some prevent users from entering certain types of information such as their name and address. Other programs keep your children away from chat rooms or restrict their ability to send or read E-mail. Generally these programs can be configured by the parent to only block the types of sites that the parent considers to be objectionable.
Whether or not it is appropriate to use one of these programs is a personal decision, but you should think it through carefully. At the end of the day, there is no technology that can prevent a teen from accessing information or sites if that’s what they are determined to do.
It is important to realize that filtering programs cannot protect your child from all dangers in cyberspace. To begin with, no program can possibly block out every inappropriate site. What’s more, it’s possible, in some cases, for the programs to block sites that are appropriate. If you use a filtering program, you should re-evaluate it periodically to make sure it’s working for your family.
Remember, the best filter is the one that runs in teens’ heads, not on the devices they use.