Why too much and unmonitored Internet usage for teenagers is not okay!

The cyber revolution is bringing  with it risks  through Desktop and laptop computers located at home, friend’s homes, work, libraries, stores, schools, Internet cafes, wireless connections, PDA/BlackBerry, Cell phones, Internet capable games (i.e., Xbox, Play station). These risks are huge and are everywhere in form of :

  • Sexting which is the sending sexual messages, pictures, or videos through cell phones.
  • Easy access to pornography. Teenagers who can’t browse through a sexually explicit magazine in a store can easily view explicit images and video online.
  • Cyber Bullying. Through use of chat rooms, e-mail, instant messaging, “blogs” and even on-line games, adult strangers can establish direct one-to-one contact with  teenagers.Teenagers  can be easily mislead to do things that they ordinarily would not do.  It is easy for a teenager  to reveal more, sometimes much more, than they should.
  • Video Networking– U Tube registrations are fairly easy and have Graphic and explicit videos – pornography, violence, pedophilia. Unsolicited “push” pornography and  e-mail links are very prevalent and are sent to everyone – including  teenagers  and children.
  • Teenagers  using search engines to locate legitimate information can receive links to pornographic sites.

Warning signs. Set off the  alarm  if your teenager:

•Significantly increases on-line time.

•Receives phone calls or sms’s  or email from someone you don’t know.

•Quickly exits  chat, email, websites and other activities when you are close by.

•Increases use of new slang words,  has inappropriate  interest in getting sexual knowledge, withdraws from family and friends.

•Begins using new screen names or an online account belonging to someone .

•Is reluctant to discuss what activities  is  he involved in .

What can  you do  as a parent?

•Learn everything you can about computers, the Internet and related technology. Develop and maintain proficiency through use.

•Take time to discuss concerns; agree on ground rules for computer and internet usage. Set reasonable  rules and  expectations. •Place the computer in a “well-trafficked” area and not in the  bedroom or a secluded area.

•Ensure that they do not divulge detailed personal information on chat , mails or social networking sites.

•Know your Teenager’s  account password(s) and screen name(s).

•Consider use of Computer and Internet  Management Software that can filter and block adult content. View history of internet usage and check  lists of  web sites visited and  chat sessions.

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