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Cyber-Savvy Teens by yaoyufang


									                           Cyber-Savvy Teens
                                                A Guide for Parents
                        Introduction                                   Actively and Positively Engaged Parents
                                                                       Young people are the “digital natives.” They are cruising down
The Internet provides wonderful opportunities. It can enhance          the Information Superhighway with their accelerators fully
our children’s lives and deepen their understanding of                 engaged, but sometimes without sufficient braking power ~ while
themselves, their friends, and the global community. The               many adults are struggling to get out of first gear. But it is still
Internet has become an integral part of our society.                   our job to protect them and make sure they make good choices.
But just as in the “real world,” there are some “dark sides” to this   Research has shown that young people whose parents are
wonderful resource. Young people may be harmed by others               actively and positively involved in what they are doing online,
online. Some young people are making unsafe or irresponsible           engage in far less risk-taking behavior.
choices that result in harm to themselves or others.
                                                                         • Frequently discuss values and standards for online
This brief guide is written for parents of tweens and teens. It will        activities.
provide you with information about online risks, recommended             • Until your child is an older teen, keep the computer in a
parenting approaches, and information on strategies to address              public area, so you remain engaged.
specific risks. With the merger of today’s technologies ~                • BE positive!
including computers, cell phones and personal digital devices,              - Appreciate your child’s online activities.
and gaming devices ~ the term “online” means “connected
                                                                            - Show interest in your child’s online friends.
using an electronic device.” Most young people are having fun
and engaged in healthy interactions with others online. Internet            - Work in partnership to address any concerns.
risks and concerns can be effectively managed through                  Delete the Fear
education and parental attention.                                      Recently, there has been a significant amount of fear generated
Parenting in the Real World ~ and Online                               about the risks to young people online ~ fear that is not
                                                                       grounded in the actual data. Research has shown that the
Our children face risks in the “real world” ~ sharp knives,
                                                                       majority of teens generally make good choices online and
speeding cars, bullies, weirdos at the park, pressure to engage
                                                                       demonstrate effective responses to the negative incidents that
in sex, drug pushers, and many more. Sometimes they simply
                                                                       do occur.
do not make good choices.
                                                                       Many teens are not telling adults about Internet concerns
When children are young, we keep them in safe places and
                                                                       because they fear adults will ...
teach them simple safety rules. As they grow, we provide them
with the knowledge, skills, and values to independently make             • Overreact.
good choices ~ and we remain engaged to ensure they do.                  • Blame them.
                                                                         • Not know what to do.
Apply those effective real world parenting skills to cyberspace.         • Make things worse.
Children should only use the Internet in safe places with simple
                                                                         • Restrict their online access.
safety rules. But as your child’s online activities expand, it is
necessary to make sure he or she knows how to independently            The more your interact positively with your child about his or her
make good choices ~ and that you remain involved in their              Internet use, the safer your child will feel in sharing the good ~
online activities.                                                     and sometimes not so good ~ happenings online.

                                                                                           Digital Citizenship
                                                                          Empower your child with the knowledge, skills, and values
                                                                          to be a responsible Digital Citizen. Cyber-Savvy Teens ...
                                                                          ✦ Understand the risks
                                                                             ‣ Know how to avoid getting into risk, detect if they are
                                                                               at risk, and respond effectively, including asking for
                                                                          ✦ Are responsible and ethical
                                                                             ‣ Do not harm others
                                                                              ‣ Respect the privacy and property of others
                                                                          ✦   Pay attention to the well-being of others
                                                                              ‣ Make sure their friends and others are safe
                                                                              ‣ Report concerns to an appropriate adult or site
                                                                          ✦   Promote online civility and respect
                           Not a Good Choice                                                   What You Do Online
                       Influences on Online Behavior                                            Reflects on You
Why teens might make not make good choices online ...                                        Making Good Choices Online
You Can’t See Me                                                                        Support your child in making good choices by
Online users perceive they are invisible online or                                      addressing important values and problem-
they can take steps to be anonymous. This reduces                                       solving strategies.
concerns about detection, disapproval, or                                               Common Values
punishment. Where there is more invisibility online,
there are frequently more safety risks.                                                 ✓ Discuss with your child the standards in the
                                                                                          Terms of Use Agreements for favorite sites
✓ Help your child make choices based on
                                                                                          and the school’s Internet use policy. Note
  internalized values.
                                                                                          how these standards are similar to your
I Can’t See You                                                                           family’s values, including spiritual values.
Online users do not receive tangible feedback about                                     Effective Problem-Solving
the consequences of online activities. This can interfere with the recognition they
                                                                                        ✓ Use “teachable moments,” like news articles
have caused harm and feelings of remorse.
                                                                                          or incidents, to discuss effective problem-
✓ Focus your child’s attention on the possible harmful consequences.                      solving.
Didn’t Think                                                                              - What is the situation? What issues does
Teen’s brains are a “work in progress” ~ developing the capacity for effective               this situation raise? What are the risks
decision-making. They are biologically incapable of consistently thinking clearly ~          and concerns?
but biologically compelled to make their own decisions.                                   - Who is involved? What are their personal
✓ Help your child gin the skills to engage in effective problem-solving.                     interests? Is anyone inappropriately trying
                                                                                             to influence someone else?
Who Am I?                                                                                 - What are the possible actions and the
A major life task for teens is establishing their personal identity and relationships        possible outcomes for each of these
with others. Their online activities allow them to experiment with different                 actions?
“personalities” ~ but may lead to the inappropriate posting of materials, activities,     - Which action has the greatest possibility
or explorations.                                                                             of leading to the best possible outcome
✓ Encourage your child to pay attention his or her online “image” and reputation.            for all concerned?
Am I Hot?                                                                               Ethical Decision-Making Questions
Teens are exploring their emerging sexuality and personal relationships online.         ✓ Teach your child to ask these kinds of
This can result in posting provocative images or engaging in sexually related             questions.
conversations.                                                                            - Is this kind and respectful to others?
✓ Honestly discuss issues of emerging sexuality.                                          - How would I feel if someone did the same
If I Can Do It, It Must Be Okay                                                             thing to me, or to my best friend?
                                                                                          - What would my mom, dad, or other
Teens may forget that “real world” values should control their online choices.              trusted adult think or do?
They think if they can do something, it is okay.
                                                                                          - Would this violate any agreements, rules,
✓ Tell your child, “Just because you can, doesn’t make it right.”                           or laws?
Everybody Does It                                                                         - How would I
Teens may follow others who make inappropriate choices.                                     feel if my
✓ Pay attention to your child’s “friends.”                                                  actions were
                                                                                            reported in a
✓ Tell your child, “Just because they do it, doesn’t make it right.”
How Far Can I Go?                                                                         - What would
Teens naturally test limits. This is how they learn about boundaries.                       happen if
✓ Discuss the risks. Do not overreact to mistakes. Respond with an appropriate              everybody did
  consequence that will help your child understand why the action was wrong.                this?
                                                                                          - Would it be
Doing What They Say                                                                         okay if I did this
Dangerous individuals, as well as commercial sites, use sophisticated techniques            in Real Life?
to manipulate attitudes and behavior. Frequently these techniques involve the two         - How would this reflect on me?
“C’s” ~ offers of “online candy” in the form of excessive complements or gifts or
seeking commitment to a special relationship or a group.                                Leadership
✓ Teach your child to recognize signs of attempted manipulation.                        ✓ Encourage your child to be a leader online
                                                                                          and to take responsibility for the welfare of
Looking for Love                                                                          others.
Teens who face “real world” personal challenges ~ including mental health                 - Model good choices online.
issues, difficulties in school, and/or challenges in relationships with family or         - Speak up for good values.
friends ~ are at higher risk online. They frequently seek attention online, are more      - Offer help or guidance to someone who is
vulnerable to manipulation, and take more risks. They are less likely to report             being harmed or making a bad choice.
online concerns because this could raise attention to mistakes they have made.
                                                                                          - Report online concerns to a trusted adult.
✓ If your child is at higher risk, it is essential that you pay close attention to
   online activities and “friends” who could lead your child in the wrong direction.
              It’s My Responsibility                                           Security and False Security
      Active and Positive Engaged Parenting                           Protection Technologies & “Techie Quick Fixes”
Supervising Online Activity                                         Computer Security
Pay attention to what your child is doing online. But balance       Effective computer security is a must.
your supervision with your teen’s legitimate interests in           ✓ Firewalls and protections against
personal privacy.                                                     viruses and other “malware.”
Positive Engagement                                                 ✓ Spam blocker.
                                                                    ✓ Browser configured to block pop-up
The best way to effectively supervise your child’s online
activities is to show a strong positive interest in what your
child is doing.                                                     ✓ No peer-to-peer networking
✦ The more you comment positively on your child’s online
                                                                      software, because it is a significant
                                                                      source of malware.
  activities, postings, and friends, the more inclined your
  child will be to ask you to look and discuss online               ✓ Set search engine preferences to
  situations.                                                         filter search results.
✦ The more effectively you respond to any online concerns           Protective Features on Sites and Services
  your child might report, the more likely your child will be       Social networking sites and instant messaging services have
  to report concerns to you in the future.                          protective features that allow the user to limit who can view their
Recommended Supervision Approach                                    information and send messages. These features place teens in
                                                                    control ~ so teens are inclined to use them
“It is necessary for me to be sure you make good choices
online. I will periodically review your history file and postings   ✓ Use of protective features is a MUST for all teens!
in public places. What you post in public is public.. I will        Monitoring Software ~ or History Retention
review your personal communications only if I have reason           Monitoring software can provide a full and complete record of
to suspect something is wrong. In most cases, I will discuss        where your child goes online, as well as all outgoing and
my concerns with you before any review.”                            incoming communications. Use of monitoring software could
                                                                    interfere with a positive relationship based on trust. Monitoring
                                                                    software might ...
                                                                    ✓ Be an appropriate consequence if your child has engaged in
                                                                       irresponsible online behavior. Tell your child it has been
                                                                       installed and under what circumstances you will review the
             When Things Go Wrong                                      records.
      Detecting and Responding to Concerns                          ✓ Be useful if you fear your child is in danger from someone
                                                                       online, your child will not discus this, and you need more
Key “Red Flags”                                                        evidence. It is likely best not to tell your child.
✦   Appearing emotionally upset                                     Some products allow you to ensure that your child can’t erase the
    during or after use.                                            history file. This is a good approach. It is less intrusive than full
✦   Disturbed relationships with                                    monitoring and will act to inhibit inappropriate activity.
    family or friends.
                                                                    Time Limiting Software
✦   Too much time online,
    especially late at night.                                       Time limiting software can limit access when you are not present
✦   Extensive communications with                                   or late at night. It can also be used to enforce time limits.
    an older teen or an adult ~                                     “Techie Quick Fixes”
    known or unknown.                                               It is impossible to keep teens in
✦   Excessively secretive behavior when you approach the            electronically fenced play yards!
    computer or an empty history file.
    ‣ But recognize that teens are likely to be somewhat
                                                                    Filtering Software
                                                                    Filtering software may provide some
                                                                    protection against accidental access.
✦   Subtle comments about online concerns.                          But it will frequently not block the “porn
Investigate                                                         traps” because the traps access new
✓ Take the time to calm down before doing anything,                 sites that have not yet been detected.
                                                                    Filtering software will simply not deter a
✓ Investigate further.
                                                                    determined teen. Filters can be easily bypassed using proxy
✓ Carefully and calmly engage your child in a conversation          sites. Do a search on “bypass Internet filter.”
  about Internet activities.
                                                                    ✓ Focus on skills to avoid accidental access and personal values.
Responding                                                          Digital Identification or Age Verification
✓ Respond to unsafe or irresponsible behavior with an               Digital identification has been proposed as a way to “protect
  appropriate consequence that will remedy any harm and             young people online.” There is no comprehensive system to
  help your child learn to make better choices.                     accurately identify minors and which adults have custodial
✓ Seek professional assistance to create a safety plan, if          authority. Such identification will increase market profiling and
  necessary.                                                        targeted advertising to children and teens. Any effort to separate
✓ If you find evidence of a predator or other dangerous             teens from from friends who turn 18 would be be futile ~ and
  individual, do not confront your child. Contact the police.       unnecessary. Young people face far greater risk from peers.
                                                                    Teens at greatest risk would subvert any system. This would lead
                                                                    to significant concerns of privacy and identity theft.
               Think Before You Post                                   Financial Identity Information
           Privacy and Personal Information                            What: Any personal identification, bank, debit, or credit card
                                                                       numbers, social security number, or passwords. Concern:
Some teens reveal personal information online in ways that             Identity theft. Protect: Teach older teens to post only on a
present concerns.                                                      secure site (https://), for an appropriate purpose, with approval.
✦ Postings are public or information shared privately can easily
  become public ~ and possibly permanent.                              Intimate Personal Information
✦ Disclosure may place them at risk, damage their reputation,          What: Private, sensitive information ~ anything that says, “I am
  jeopardize relationships, or interfere with future education and     vulnerable.” Concern: Could be used for manipulation or to
  career plans.                                                        cause harm. Protect: Never share on a profile, even if
                                                                       protected. Probably safe to share on a professional online
Teach your child how to recognize the difference between public        support service site ~ but check the site carefully. May be safe to
sites, protected profiles, or generally private communications         share in a private message with a very trusted friend ~ but be
and providing information to friends, friends of friends, strangers,   very careful.
or web forms.
                                                                       Reputation-Damaging Material
Personal Interest Information
                                                                       What: Information or images that could damage your child’s
What: General information about personal interests and                 reputation. Concern: This could damage your child’s future
activities. Concern: Could be used in for manipulation. Will be        education or career opportunities or personal relationships ~ or
used for market profiling purposes. Protect: Generally safe in         others could use this material against your child. Protect: Never
private or protected places. Encourage: Encourage your child           post or send material online ~ publicly or privately ~ that others
to use create a high quality presentation of his or her interests      could use against you or to judge you badly.
and strengths on a social networking profile. What you post
reflects on who you are!                                               Personal Information About Others
Personal Contact Information                                           What: Invasive or damaging information about family, friends, or
                                                                       other people or images of others captured in a private place
What: Full name, address, phone number, and cell phone                 without their permission. Concern: Your child has no right to
number. Concern: Could lead to                                         share this information. If damaging, you could be held financially
unsafe contact. Will be used for                                       liable. Protect: Your child should not post or send online.
advertising. Protect: Never
provide to a stranger. Safe to                                         Personal Information About Your Child
share with a friend. Exercise care                                     What: Invasive or damaging material related to your child
with anyone else. Not on a profile.                                    posted by someone else. Concern: All of the concerns noted
Avoid providing in a web form ~                                        above. Protect: Advise your child to demand that this material
unless for an important purpose                                        be removed and tell you. File a complaint if it is not removed or
and have read the privacy policy                                       contact the parent.
and know site will not provide to
other advertisers.

             Don’t Take Online Candy                                   ✓ Take time to get to know someone online.
                                                                       ✓ Pay close attention to inconsistencies.
              Safely Interacting with Others
                                                                       ✓ If concerns arise, leave the site or block the person.
Young people can be expected to have online interactions with          Unsafe Person Red Flags!
people who they know in person, know only as an acquaintance
or “friend of a friend,” and online strangers. All of these people     Teens must recognize the “red flags:”
can become great friends ~ or present a risk. Your child must           “Watch out for anyone who sends
know to watch out for “false personas.”                                 overly friendly messages, tells you
                                                                        how wonderful or “hot” you are, offers
Interacting with Others                                                 gifts or opportunities, tries to establish
In personal communication environments:                                 a special or secret relationship or get
✓ Gradually increase your child’s circle of friends. Start with         you to join a group, asks for a sexy
   known friends only. Then expand to “friends of friends” ~            picture, or tries to turn you against
   people known in person by someone your child knows in                your parents or friends.”
   person. Your child knows that no false “persona” has been           Safely Meeting in Person
   established and this person can be found in the “real world” to
   resolve any problems. Possibly strangers when older.                Teens may want to meet in person with someone they met
                                                                       online. They must know how to do so safety. If you tell your child
Many teens will communicate with strangers on public sites.            never to to do so, he or she may do so anyway ~ and just not
Because it of “false personas”, your child should be very careful.     tell you.
✓ Your child should know how to respond if someone engages             ✓ NEVER agree to meet without a safety plan and approval.
  in harmful communications and not to provide any personal            ✓ Meet in a public place, with friends present and you nearby.
  contact information.                                                 ✓ Pre-arrange a safety check phone call or text message about
Assessing Safety and Trustworthiness                                      5 minutes into the meeting.
To assess the safety and trustworthiness ...                           ✓ Never leave the public place with the stranger.
✓ Carefully review the person’s online postings,                       ✓ If something feels weird, quickly leave.
  communications, and friends to assess the person’s values.
 Read With Your Eyes Open                                                   Keeping Life in Balance
         Information Credibility                                                  Addictive Behavior
There are no “Cyberspace Truth Monitors.”          Internet addictive behavior is an excessive amount of time spent using the Internet,
There is a lot of                                  resulting in lack of healthy engagement in other areas of life. Teens need to spend
disinformation                                     time with their family and friends ~ engaged in play, physical activities, arts, social
online. Too many                                   service, or just “hanging out.” Excessive time spent online that interferes with other
people determine                                   activities is a risk itself ~ and an indicator of other concerns.
credibility based on
appearance ~ which                                 Recognize that a child who is at greater risk in the real world, may end up spending
can be deceptive.                                  too much time online ~ which can then lead to greater concerns. If your child is
But the Internet also                              spending too much time online, ask, “Why?”
allows much greater                                Parent Involvement
access to facts.                                   ✓ Develop a mutual agreement about the amount of time to
Teach your child to                                  be spent online and strategies to support engagement in
assess the accuracy of information through           other activities, especially quality activities with friends.
effective discernment.
                                                   ✓ Use time limiting software to support this arrangement, if
✓ How important is it that the information be        necessary.
                                                   ✓ Make sure your child is not surfing, gabbing, or gaming
   - The greater the importance, the more            when there is homework to be done.
      care must be taken.
✓ How controversial is the issue?
   - The more the controversy, the greater
      the possibility of bias or different                            Connecting and Communicating
      opinions.                                                              Communication Concerns
✓ How did you get to the site or receive the
                                                   Electronic communications technologies allow your child to
                                                   communicate anywhere, any time. Concerns include:
   - Following a link from highly credible site      • Sending personal information that is intimate,
      ~ likely credible. Using a search engine ~
                                                        embarrassing, or could lead to personal harm.
      vary in credibility. An unsolicited email
      message ~ likely not credible.                 • Sending or receiving offensive or harmful messages.
✓ How credible is the source?                        • Communicating with unsafe individuals.
                                                     • Thinking that a private electronic communication will
   - Who is providing the information?
                                                        remain private.
   - What does the source of the information
      have to gain if you agree with their         General Protections
      information or position?                     ✓ Use a username that will not attract inappropriate attention.
✓ Is the information fact-based or opinion-        ✓ Do not publicly post an email or IM address.
   based?                                          ✓ Watch out for suspicious messages.
   - Opinion-based information could be            ✓ Do not get into online arguments ~ leave the site or block communications.
      more biased.
                                                   ✓ Know how to save a harmful message and file a complaint.
✓ Have you found the same or similar
   information on other sites or in books or       Chat Rooms and Gaming Chat
   magazines?                                      Chat environments on children’s sites are generally moderated and safe. Chat
   - The more places the same or similar           rooms that attract teens and adults can present concerns because people can more
      information is found, the higher the         easily pretend to be someone they are not. Because there is more invisibility, the
      probability of accuracy.                     public sites are places where there are potentially more unsafe people.
✓ Who else links to the site?                      ✓ Be selective ~ pay attention to the quality of the environment
   - Paste the URL of the site into a search       ✓ Your child should know to never disclose any personal contact information or
      engine to find who else thinks the             pictures in the chat or to someone met in a chat room.
      information is credible.
                                                   Instant Messaging (IM)
✓ What do others, especially a parent,
   teacher, or librarian, think?                   It is not safe to communicate with strangers through instant messaging.
✓ Is the information consistent with what you      ✓ Make sure your child has fully implemented the protection features of the IM
   already know to be true?                            software and has not established a public IM account or provided personal
                                                       information in the IM profile.
Online Scams                                       ✓ Disable automatic downloads or file-sharing.
Help your child learn to recognize online
scams ~ including identity theft scams.            Email
Scams have two identifying features:               Once teens start social networking, they generally use email only to register on
✦ “Free lunch” ~ offer of something free in        sites or communicate with adults. Follow the general protections.
  exchange for ___. What you have to watch         Cell Phone Text Messaging
  out for is “the catch.”
✦ Threat that if you do not “act fast”
                                                   It is harder to supervise your child’s cell phone, text messaging, and images.
  something bad will happen or something           ✓ Make sure your child knows your service agreement prohibits harmful and illegal
  good will be lost. Threat that if you do not         communications. Your family account could be terminated.
  provide your account information, your           ✓ Some teens call and text throughout he night. Make sure their phone is off.
  account will be closed.                          ✓ Some teens take and send nude or other harmful images. Check their images.
                     Me and MyFriends                                                Eyeballs and E-Wallets
                   Social Networking Safety                                       Market Profiling and Advertising
Social networking sites provide a place for teens to express their     Commercial web sites think teens are “hot prospects.” They
personal identity and maintain connections with friends. They can      know teens spend lots of money ~ and convince you to
create personal profiles, post images and writings, and                spend more. Ads are the price we pay for free web sites.
communicate. It used to be that no one online knew who you were.
                                                                       Getting to Know All About Your Child
Now people can know all about who you are.
                                                                       Web sites engage in “market profiling.” They want to know all
All of the popular sites have implemented protective measures and      about your child ~ age, gender, location, interests, and
consistently seek to identify and protect against risk. If these       purchasing habits ~ so they can advertise directly to them.
protective features are used and your child exercises reasonable       This is called targeted advertising. It is known to be very
care, social networking sites are among the safest places for your     effective in causing teens to “nag” their parents to purchase
child online. No one can see your child’s profile or communicate       something for them.
unless your child has established a friendship link. Social
networking is far safer than chat rooms.                               Web sites obtain personal information through registrations,
                                                                       by tracking online activities,
Social Networking Concerns                                             reviewing postings, and
✦   Unsafe disclosure of personal information or images, including     encouraging teens to enter contests
    provocative or outrageous material.                                or complete personality quizzes.
✦   Unsafe connections with individuals or groups.                     The contests and quizzes ask about
✦   Engage in or targeted by cyberbullying or sexual harassment.       product interests and for contact
✦   Addictive access.
                                                                       ✓ Read the so-called “privacy
✦   Lie about age to participate.
                                                                          policy” for a popular personality
Check It Out                                                              quiz site. Absolutely no privacy!
✓ Before your child joins, check it out:                               (Site) collects user information on
                                                                       certain portions of our site, through
  - Does your child meet the age requirement?                          methods which include, but are not
  - Do the Terms of Use prohibit harmful activities?                   limited to, responding to questions
  - Does the site allow your child to effectively control who has      and surveys, registering for the site, or through various offers
    access to his or her profile and block others?                     provided on site. By submitting personal information you grant
  - Does the site have a complaint process?                            (site) the right to use that information for marketing purposes
                                                                       including, but not limited to, sharing such information via co-
Protect Privacy and Reputation                                         registration with advertisers. (Site) may also use such information
✓ Your child should implement the protection features on the site to   to deliver certain direct marketing offers to you via telemarketing,
                                                                       e-mail marketing, direct mail, SMS messaging and other types of
  limit who can view his or her profile. Even if your child uses the
                                                                       direct marketing. We may sell the personal information that you
  privacy protection features, he or she should not post material      supply to us to selected third parties, including direct marketing
  that could ...                                                       services. By agreeing to these terms, you hereby consent to
  - Allow a stranger or advertiser to make contact in the “real        disclosure of any record or communication to any third party
     world.”                                                           when (site), in its sole discretion, determines the disclosure to be
  - Be used by a cyberbully to cause harm.                             appropriate.
  - Damage his or her reputation, friendships, or future               ✓ Teach your child to recognize efforts to obtain personal
     opportunities.                                                      information for advertising, to make good decisions about
  - Cause harm or distress to another.                                   how much information to share, and to recognize when the
                                                                         information they have posted is being used for targeted
Be Selective                                                             advertising.
✓ Ensure your child is selective about who he or she adds as           Are You “Hot” and Will You Buy?
  friends. start with friends only ~ then expand to “friends of
  friends.”                                                            Advertisers want teens to think that to be “hot” they must
✓ Make sure your child knows it is perfectly okay to turn down a       have their product or service.
  request for a friendship link or remove a link if the person does    Ads may promote unhealthy
  not meet with acceptable values and standards.                       lifestyles, consumption, values,
                                                                       and behavior. Techniques
✓ Sometimes teens think having a large number of friends proves
                                                                       include ...
  they are an important or popular person. Help your child focus on
                                                                       ✦ Banner ads ! targeted to
  the quality, not quantity, of friends.
Be the Best “You”                                                      ✦ Advergaming ~ integrating
✦ Profiles are a place                                                     ads into online games and
  for your child to                                                        activities.
  shine                                                                ✦ Permission marketing ~
✓ Encourage your                                                           asking teens to sign up to receive newsletters or become a
  child to create a                                                        “friend” on a social network profile that is really just an ad.
  profile that                                                         ✦ Viral marketing ~ encourage teens to send their ads to
  demonstrates the                                                         their friends.
  incredible person                                                    ✓ Help your child be a wise consumer, o use the Internet to
  he or she truly is!                                                      research purchased, and to recognize how advertisers
                                                                           might try to encourage unhealthy values and irresponsible
                 Mean Kids Online                                      Searching For a Place to Belong
                     Cyberbullying                                   Unsafe or Dangerous Online Communities
Young people are sending nasty messages, posting            Teens who are looking for friends online may end up finding the wrong
cruel material, impersonating others, and engaging in       kinds of friends. There are online “communities” and web sites that
other online and cell phone aggression. Cyberbullying       support unsafe activities, promote hate, or encourage illegal activities.
can range from minor incidents to devastating harm.         Kinds of unsafe communities:
Cyberbullying may be more harmful than in-person            ✦ Support unsafe self-harm behaviors ~ like
bullying because it can happen 24/7, can be very public,       self-cutting, anorexia, drug use, suicide.
and bullies can be anonymous. It may cause significant      ✦ Hate groups and gangs.
emotional distress, school failure and avoidance,           ✦ Hacker groups.
violence, and suicide.                                      ✦ Groups that disseminate pornography or
Targets                                                        copyrighted material.
Prevention                                                  Spiral of Concern
✓ Bullies tend to target young people whom they             Teens who become involved in these
  perceive to lack power and connections. Help your         communities generally start out not feeling
  child gain social power through self-confidence.          very happy about their life. These groups can provide acceptance and
✓ Pay attention to the quality of your child’s real world   friendship. But this acceptance and friendship comes at a price ~
  and online communities and friends.                       support for involvement in unsafe, dangerous, or illegal activities.
✓ Ensure your child does not post information that could
  be misused by others and communicates respectfully.       Recognizing the Risks
✓ Work with your school to stop any school bullying.        If your child is looking for friends online, recognize that he or she could
Signs of Concern                                            become attracted to the wrong kinds of friends and involved in the
✦   Emotional distress during or after being online.        wrong kinds of activities.
✦   Disrupted friendships.                                  ✓ Pay very close attention to the kinds of people your child is
✦   School avoidance.                                          interacting with online.
Ways to Respond                                             ✓ Find a safe youth group in your community where your child can fit in
                                                               or help your child find a safe online community related to a special
✓ Never Retaliate! Save the harmful material. Take the
  time to calm down before deciding on the next steps.
                                                            ✓ If it appears your child has become involved in an unsafe online
✓ Your child’s responses to minor incidents: Calmly tell
                                                               community, seek professional assistance to create a safety plan to
  the cyberbully to stop. Ignore or block the cyberbully.
                                                               leave this community. Do not think you can effectively handle this by
  File a complaint with the web site or service. Ask for
                                                               simply cutting off access.
  help from a friend.
✓ Responses to significant incidents that will require
  your help: Send the online material to the bully’s
  parent with a demand that it stop. Ask for assistance                              Avoid the Porn
  from school. Contact an attorney or the police. Make                    Accidental Access of Pornography
  sure your child knows that sometimes adults also have
  to request help to resolve a dispute.                     Children or teens may accidentally access online pornography.
                                                            Exposure can be limited through effective
Bullies                                                     computer security, safe surfing, and effective
✓ Deter your child from                                     response.
  engaging in cyberbullying
  by emphasizing the
  importance of treating                                    ✓ Make sure you have implemented effective
  others kindly online and                                    computer security, including filtered search
  through effective                                           returns. Do not allow peer-to-peer
  monitoring. Also address                                    networking software.
  your child’s emotional                                    ✓ Make sure your child uses safe surfing
  concerns.                                                   strategies:
✓ If your child is being                                      - Think before you click ~ don’t click on a link, if you don’t know what
  bullied by others, make sure your child knows not to           it will access.
  retaliate online. He or she could be considered the         - Don’t type a URL ~ type the name of the site in a search engine.
  source of the problem. Insist the school stop any           - Don’t open suspicious email messages or click on links in email
  bullying.                                                      unless you are sure they are legitimate.
✓ If your child has been unkind online, take proactive
                                                            Appropriate Response
  steps to ensure this does not continue. Insist your
  child take steps to remedy any harm.                      ✓ Make sure your child knows what to do if material appears:
                                                              - Turn off the monitor, force-quit the browser, or turn off the
Bystanders or Leaders                                           computer.
Encourage your child to be a leader.                          - Tell you what happened, so you know it was a mistake and can
✓ Promote respectful communications.                            check the security.
✓ Provide support for someone who is being                  ✓ After any incident:
  cyberbullied.                                               - Evaluate your computer security.
✓ Tell the bully to stop, if it is safe to do so.             - Review what happened to prevent future incidents.
✓ Tell a trusted adult.                                       - Use the opportunity to discuss values around sexual material.
       Don’t Hook-up With Online Losers                                 Protection
               Risky Online Sexual Activities                           ✓ Remain positively involved with your child over his or her
                                                                          emerging sexuality.
Teens are emerging sexually. They will likely research sexual           ✓ Pay attention to material your child is posting to make sure it
health issues and communicate with people they have                       does not indicate emotional vulnerability or inappropriate
relationships with online. They may engage in “cyber-sex” ~               sexual interest.
fantasy sexual discussions.
                                                                        ✓ Review the sites your child visits through the history file to
Online Sexual Predators                                                   see if they are sexual in nature. Recognize “exploring” is
There are many                                                            normal behavior. Teens who are questioning sexual
misunderstandings about                                                   orientation need love and support.
online sexual predators.                                                ✓ Regularly review your child’s social networking and IM
Online predator incidents are                                             friends. Ask how they know each person.
very rare. Young people are                                             ✓ Be very alert to extensive communications with any older teen
at far greater risk of sexual                                             or adult. Ask to review communications and pay close
abuse from family or                                                      attention to your child’s response.
acquaintance abusers ~ who                                              ✓ Teens must understand that people who look for sexual
could now be using                                                        partners online are losers. They are not sexual mentors.
technology for grooming.                                                  There present significant risks of sexually transmitted
                                                                          diseases and the possibility of rape and abduction.
Predators do not target
children. They are not deceptive about their age or sexual              ✓ Make sure your child knows that creating, sending, or asking
intentions ~ but may pretend to love the teen. They do not track          for nude images of children or teens is a crime.
teens based on personal contact information they post online.           ✓ Regularly run a search for photo files ~ end in .jpg.
Abduction is rare. The teens who meet with people they have             ✓ Your child must watch out for “Unsafe Person Red Flags” and
formed a relationship with online do so knowing they are adults           respond appropriately.
and that they will engage in sex. These are generally statutory         Intervention
rape situations ~ rarely forcible rape.
                                                                        ✓ If your child does tell you about an inappropriate contact, do
The teens who are at greatest risk of online sexual exploitation          not overreact. Acknowledge your child’s attention to potential
are those who are emotionally vulnerable, exploring sexual                concern. Depending on the situation, contact the police, file a
questions in unsafe forums, boys who are questioning their                complaint with the site, or contact the offender’s parents.
sexual orientation, posting sexy pictures, using sexy                   ✓ If you suspect that your child is communicating with someone
usernames, and engaging in discussions with people about sex.             with inappropriate sexual intentions but you child is unwilling
Other Sexual Risk Concerns                                                to discuss this with you, contact the police. Do not inform your
                                                                          child that you are doing so. Your child could warn or run off
✦   Engage in or receive sexual harassment from peers.                    with the person. Do not let anyone other than law
✦   Seek sexual involvement with peers.                                   enforcement investigate your computer. The police can take
✦   Create and send sexy pictures, which could be child                   over your child’s communications and set up a “sting.” Seek
    pornography and lead to arrest.                                       professional assistance to create a safety plan for your child.
✦   Abusive partners use cell phones or Internet to maintain            ✓ If your child appears to be in a violent or abusive relationship,
    control and may engage in cyber-stalking if their partner             seek professional assistance to help your child gain the
    wants to end the relationship.                                        strength to leave this relationship. Depending on the
                                                                          circumstances you may need to seek the assistance of the
                                                                          school or the police.

           Finding the Good Life Online
One problem with a booklet like this is that it is focusing on the
risks and not on the benefits. But it is necessary that you
understand how to encourage your child to be a responsible
Digital Citizen protect your child against the risks ~ so that your
child can take advantage of the benefits. The Internet can be a
safe and wonderful place for your child to spend part of his or
her time.
Encourage your child to use the Internet to expand his or her
understandings and connections with others and the world and
to engage in quality enriching online activities. Help your child
become a good Digital Citizen and to think about the kinds of
values and standard he or she would like to see in this new
online world.

Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use
By Nancy Willard, M.S., J.D.
Author of Cyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy Teens, Helping Young People Use the Internet Safety and Responsibly (Jossey Bass). Permission to
make one copy for personal use. Further reproduction rights under terms described at

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