This is a sponsored post by Verizon Wireless. All opinions are my own. With the help of Verizon Wireless and my experience parenting teens, I’ve come up with 5 ways to monitor your teen’s internet use.
Technology can be an amazing resource for kids and teens, however it can also open the door for unsafe online practices. While technology can be an amazing and exciting way to broaden the world of children, tweens and teens it can also open the door to unsafe online practices such as cyberbullying , mobile device safety, online privacy and personal data sharing, especially on social networks. Not to mention the whole addiction concept that is very real and live for many teens, when it comes to their cell phones and devices.
It’s never too early or late to talk to your kids about online safety and appropriate internet use. Verizon Wireless and The Parents’ Guide to Kids and Tech has so much to offer in the way of helping you keep your kids safe. We use monitoring programs like Verizon Smart Family, which is a great way to balance trust and safety with my teens. Verizon has a variety of devices that are family friendly and may be worth looking into if you are wanting something you can monitor. For younger kids there’s the LG GizmoPal 2, which can keep kids from social media, texting and other things you might think they’re too young for. There’s something for everyone in the family! I highly recommend implementing these ways to monitor your teen’s internet use and keep them safe from others, and themselves!
Talk to them
Start an open dialogue with your child about what they do online. Ask them about their favorite things to do online, and what social medias they are a part of. Continue these conversations often, always being open and understanding so that your kids are comfortable enough to talk to you. Let them know you will be checking in on a regular basis, to go over their internet use.
Teach your children about the risks, dangers and long-reaching effects of unsafe online practices. Let teens know that sharing questionable posts and photos (even with someone they feel they can trust) can haunt them for years to come. Talk to the kids about cyber bullying and why it can be hurtful to others as well as what to do if they are being bullied. Also teach your children what information is not ok to share online without asking a parent first (such as full name, address, phone number or age). Whatever the issue is that you think is relevant to your child, don’t assume that they already understand the risks until you teach them.
You as a parent have the right and responsibility to set rules, limits and consequences for your child’s online behavior. Let them know up front what those limits and consequences are, and be sure to enforce them as needed. I know many families who write up a contract that has consequences if broken. Just knowing that you will be monitoring their online behavior may make them think twice before posting/searching. With tracking programs and apps that also limit teens’ online activity, Verizon Wireless will help you as the parent to know what’s going on with the kids when they’re online.
Look Into Monitoring services/products
Some may debate how much privacy to give their teenagers, but I believe we have every right, and duty to monitor our kids’ online use. The Pew Research Center found that 61% of parents “have checked which websites their teen has visited.” Between giving teens privacy and freedom to express themselves, and also ensuring protection from the potential dangers of the internet, parents face a delicate balance. Verizon has wonderful services like smart family GPS tracking, so you can always know where your kids are. I personally love the ability through Smart Family, to turn off my son’s phone data when I think he’s been on his phone too long. I can also see where his battery life sits and who he’s messaging and what he’s watching.
Be open and honest with your kids, and have clear rules and consequences in place. Consistency is most crucial when it comes to monitoring your teen’s internet use. Know there are products and services out there to help, so you’re not alone! You can conquer this!