Teens are Cyberguardians – we need to educate them
Many of us believe that parents are good when it comes to keeping our children safe online. But the reality is that as a general rule, if we are liable to sell something to a kid, then we are liable to sell something to a kid. And if we’re merely allowing a child to go out and “look for work”, we’re liable to find ourselves sitting in a cell wondering when you last told your daughter to keep herself offline and put her phone away.
And sadly, these are not the only online risks for our kids, or their friends. The problem we’re facing is that the same providers and “friends” that we trust to keep our children safe on the Internet – or anything else – are not happy to do so, leaving our children as a virtual guinea pig for a wide range of potential risk. Young teens should be at the centre of all online development. And one simple but important step is to remember to teach our kids how to manage the risk they’re exposed to online. By teaching our teens how to manage their risk they will be better equipped to deal with the risks themselves, be the supervising adult for their online activity, as well as reducing the risk they pose to others – including themselves.
I would challenge parents to take a step back and think about their relationship with their children online, where risks are increasingly likely. Could children have a dangerous relationship online with someone they know?
Just as children may develop and change as they grow older, many online social networks, which are in some cases quite large in number, could quickly become unmanageable if we don’t manage the risks.
Teens will be making plans and decisions with teenagers outside of school or even offline. Teens may discover they love gaming or social media and be comfortable being interactive with adults and children outside of school settings.
And this, though generally safe for teens, could potentially lead to a range of social and/or health problems.
Not to mention risk-assessment. When it comes to personal safety, something that we typically expect to be fully assessed in a high school setting, there will surely be a period of years where these issues may not be assessed or assessed correctly. And that’s dangerous.
Well done to the Secret Group for working towards this end-goal.
And, you should realize that the Internet isn’t the only place that needs to be monitored.
With so many sorts of risks online, parents need to take notice when anything appears to go “off the radar” or become safer. Whether it’s teaching kids how to manage online risks or making them aware of what online risks they could be encountering, they need to manage their own risk.
Just as parents shouldn’t “hurry off when they see a heartache”, as just as I shouldn’t “leave open a door that doesn’t belong to me”. By managing my own risk, I am a better parent and can be a better provider and guardian when it comes to online risks.
Source: Parenting Matters