Young adult (15-18 years old)
Teenagers will often demand or expect almost limitless access to technology. But that should not deter you from reminding them of appropriate safety guidelines. Here are some handy tips and advice for four of the most popular activities teenagers use technology for – Entertainment & Search, Shopping, Gaming and Chatting.
Entertainment & Search
Here are some safety tips to consider as you guide your teens when searching or viewing content online:
Keep internet-connected computers in an open area and not in a teen's bedroom.
Create a list of internet house rules as a family. Include the kinds of site that are off limits, internet hours, and what information should not be shared online.
Encourage your teens not to download programmes, music or files without your permission. File-sharing can be illegal, damage your computer, and expose your family to unsuitable and unsafe content.
Investigate internet-filtering tools (such as Windows Family Safety and Bing SafeSearch) as a complement to parental supervision – these will help you block inappropriate content you don't want your teenagers to have access to.
Discuss online gambling and its potential risks with your teens.
Ensure you have good internet security on all your computers. This needn't be as expensive as you think – free software like Microsoft Security Essentials, guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.
There are also a few extra things to bear in mind when guiding your teens on their use of shopping sites online:
Make sure they check with you before making financial transactions online, including ordering, buying or selling items.
Set up a family email address, and encourage your teens to use that when filling out online forms.
The modern generation of games consoles let people around the world play together via an internet connection. With this in mind, here are some guidelines to ensure your children play safe:
Most games consoles come with safety settings that allow you to disable certain functions or content. To find out more about the settings available on your Xbox 360, see Games Consoles.
Make sure the games your children play are age appropriate by using the PEGI ratings system. PEGI labels appear on all video games sold in the UK and rate video games at various age levels (3, 7, 12, 16 and 18) depending on content.
Gaming can be compulsive for some. Be aware of how much time your children spend playing games and set appropriate boundaries. As a guideline, five minute breaks should be taken every 45 minutes to an hour.
It’s harder to control the content your children are exposed to if they play illegally pirated games. So make sure your children only use products purchased from reputable and legal shops.
Teens are usually very sociable and love chatting with friends online, using instant messenger programmes such as Microsoft Live Messenger, social networking sites such as Facebook and internet forums.
Most will have a great time. But it is still very important they take care over the information they share about themselves and their family. Here are some tips for ensuring your children are chatting safely:
Continue to keep an open and positive dialogue with your children about who they're talking to online, and encourage them to think before talking to people they don't know in person. Advise them never to meet an online friend in person.
Be aware of the websites that your teens frequent. Make sure they are not visiting sites with offensive content, or posting personal information. Be aware of the photos that teens post of themselves and their friends.
Make sure they understand what personal information they should not give over the internet – such as their real name, address, phone number, or passwords.
Encourage them to use monitored chat rooms, and to stay in public chat room areas.
Teach your teens responsible, ethical, online behaviour. Explain to them that they should not be using the internet to spread gossip, bully, or threaten others.
Help protect them from spam. Tell your teens not to give out their email address online, not to respond to junk mail, and to use email filters.
As part of a wider discussion about sex and relationships, discuss how people may use the internet to explore their sexuality, which may include sharing sexual images. Talk to your teenagers about online adult content and pornography, and direct them to positive sites about health and sexuality.
Encourage your children to tell you if something or someone online makes them feel uncomfortable or threatened. Stay calm and remind your kids they’re not in trouble for bringing something to your attention. Praise their behaviour and encourage them to come to you again if the same thing happens.
Consider using filtering options, monitoring and setting time limits for access to chat. For more information on how you do this in Windows 8, see Windows Family Safety.
Consider using a customised internet browser on your PC which provides children with immediate access to Think U Know where they can report any concerns they have. Download the free customised version of Internet Explorer.