What are Some of the Dangers that Teenagers Face When Using Social Media Platforms?
Teenagers are very smart and can quickly figure out how to operate technology. Their thirst for learning can possibly lead them down the wrong path. What dangers should you warn your child about that are lurking on the Internet before you allow them to use the family computer?
Disclosure: The opinions reflected in this post are my own and may differ from your own opinions.
This is a tactic that affects many individuals and not just teenagers. Online bullying has become a big issue and parents need to be aware that their child may end up a victim of an online bullying attack. Cyberbullying is the act of deliberately using technology to harm another individual. Adults have a hard time dealing with a cyberbully, but a teenager may not know how to handle the situation. Teach your child to never give out their personal information online, as some bullies will use this information to potentially harm your child. The best way to handle an online bully is to keep logs of hurtful/hateful comments or threats, using screen shot tools. Next block the person who is harassing you or your teenager. Be aware that once you block the bully, they may retaliate and create a new account so that they can continue harassing you or your teen. Protect yourself by learning how to be aware of what is going on around you while you are online, just as if you were walking around in the mall. At the mall you are paying attention to what is going on around you, the same tactic should be used online as well. Never add people that you don’t personally know or people who don’t have any profile information filled out. If you feel that your teenager is being bullied on or offline, you should keep an eye out for the following side effects: loneliness, lowered self-esteem, disappointment, disbelief, mistrust, self harm, and suicide.
This tends to happen more to adults but I feel that parents needs to know that it is possible that a teenager could be a victim of cyberstalking as well. A stalker will attempt to sabotage a person’s online reputation and follow them around using social media, public forums, and online information sites. The stalker sole intent is to harm a persons income, reputation, employment (even ruin those who are self-employed), and personal safety. They will often times make false accusations, monitor everything that you are doing, follow you around, steal your ideas, begin making online and potentially offline threats, attempt to damage your data or equipment (ie your computer, website), steal your identity, spread rumors about you, and harass you. Cyberstalking is a form of cyberbullying and it is punishable by law. If you feel that you are being cyberstalked, you need to report it to your local authorities and follow their advice. Documentation of these attacks if very important. Begin capturing the everything that the cyberstalker is doing in attempt to ruin your online reputation.
The Internet is making it pornography easier for children, teens, and adults to access. Therefore in 2011, the United States passed a law to make it easier to prosecute individuals who promote online child pornography and child sexual exploitation. Children and teenagers often begin exploring pornography to learn about sex because their parents refuse to educate their children about it. Often times their fascination to learning will turn into an addiction. They want to find out everything there is no know about sex and sexual relationships, including the different types of sex. Often times a teen will hide what they are doing; especially, what they are doing online when they know that they shouldn’t be doing it. The best way that a parent can prevent pornography from becoming an issue is to educate your child about sex and also set up strict boundaries, monitor their Internet usage, and move the computer to an open room in the house.
A computer virus can be downloaded by anyone, not just your teenager. However, it is important to teach your child to download programs, games, and other files from reputable online sources. An infected computer can compromise sensitive data and information on your computer, which could potentially allow an intruder to use that information to harm your reputation. To help prevent viruses from infecting your computer purchase antivirus software or contact your Internet provider (some Internet providers offer free software with their services). Once you install virus protection, you need to make sure that you update it frequently or it can’t do its job properly.
Downloading Illegal Music, Movies, Games, and Software
Many teenagers find ways to download illegal copies of their favorite music, movies, games, and software. Downloading these files from illegal sources is considered stealing. Many people have been prosecuted for having illegal copies of music, movies, games, and software on their computer. So parents need to educate their children not to download files from illegal websites, as their activity is traceable. An example of an illegal website that was in the news several years ago was Napster, but there are hundreds of illegal file sharing websites on the Internet. Parents can prevent illegal downloading by monitoring their child’s computer activities.
Has your child been a victim of bullying or cyberbullying?