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Have You Had ‘The Talk’ with Your Teen: Security in a Digital Age

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Parents, it’s time to have “the talk” with your teen. No, not the conversation about the birds and the bees, the social media talk. The 2015 Social Media & Technology Overview from Pew Research shows 92 percent of teens go online daily, with most teens going online multiple times each day. So, how can you protect your teen online?

Start With a Conversation

It’s your job as a parent to protect and guide your child in the right direction and it all starts with open communication. First, discuss a set of rules. You may get some push-back initially. For example, no phone after midnight, only allowing use of the home computer for a certain amount of time each day, set data restrictions and limitations for smartphones and a discussion about appropriate websites and apps. After you’ve established a set of online rules that work best for your family, enforce them. You don’t have to be strict, just firm. Not only will it help to keep the kids safer online, it will make them feel more comfortable talking to you when other serious issues come up.

Give Your Teen the Facts

We live in a world of oversharing. From photos and status updates to personal information and sensitive data, our habit of sharing has gone overboard, and teens may be the worst offenders. Employers and even universities use social media to filter candidates. One misstep on social media can get your teen into some pretty hot water, holding them back from finding a job or getting into the college of their dreams.

When it comes to tragic occurrences or stolen information, many people don’t believe in can happen to them. Online predators can blend in on social networks and seek out your teen. A survey published in the journal “American Psychologist” showed one in 25 children ages 10 to 17 have received a sexual solicitation online where the solicitor attempted to make offline contact. This scary statistic is very real and it can happen to anyone who’s online.

With how much time they spend on social media, direct them to LifeLock’s Twitter feed. Here they’ll see the many newsworthy identity theft cases and data breaches that happen all the time, as well as pick up on tips to create strong passwords and safeguard documents.

Teach Your Teen about Online Security

Identity theft is no joke, however, most teens think they’re invincible. In reality, they are prime targets for identity theft since they have perfect credit records and do not regularly check credit reports. Identity thieves can use the information that teens provide willingly on social media sites. Information such as pet’s name, name of their school, family names and other information is commonly used as security prompts. Hackers can use this information to steal a person’s identity. And it goes way beyond just hacking email.