Predator: Be careful who you trust online because that 15-year-old boy could be a 45-year-old man. *MCT Illustration
Predator: Be careful who you trust online because that 15-year-old boy could be a 45-year-old man. *MCT Illustration

If you have a relationship with a teenager then the following information is very useful especially now when school is out and young people will have more time to be on a computer.

Parents, you can’t monitor your children’s on-line behaviour all of the time nor will you always know what they are up to and who are they up to it with. However, you can get involved in their virtual lifestyle and influence how they use the Internet by establishing Internet safety habits. 

Here are 20 safety tips to help keep teenagers safe on line:

1. When surfing the Internet stay as anonymous as possible and keep all of your private information private.

2. Never give out personal details that would identify who you are; name, address, phone number, school, names of family members.

3. Never give out credit and debit card information.

4. Keep your passwords private and change them often.

5. Most credible businesses will not ask for your personal and private information so if one does this is a red flag that they may be up to something.

6. Never participate in cyber bulling and always report incidents of cyber bullying, bad behaviour and inappropriate use of mobile technology, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc.

7. If someone says something on the Internet that you do not like, ignore them, do not respond and step away from the computer - do not confront them on line. 

8. Never reply to any messages or bulletin board items that are upsetting, suggestive, obscene or aggressive.

9. Never use bad language online, and do not take part in arguments or fights online.

10. Never accept any offers of money or presents, even free offers.

11. Do not enter chat rooms and websites that you have agreed with your parents are off-limits.

12. Read between the lines — just because your new friend on line is being nice and flattering to you doesn’t mean that they are genuine, them may in fact be trying to manipulate you in order to get something.

13. Never arrange any face-to-face meetings with anyone you have met on the Internet unless your parents consent and they go with you.

14. Keep your social media sites, such as Facebook, private. Learn how to set your privacy settings for safety and check your privacy settings often.

15. When logging onto certain sites carefully read the terms and conditions as accepting them may compromise your privacy and safety.

16. Always have virus protection software on your computer and if you do not recognize the sender of an email you receive or a document or file that needs to be downloaded, delete it without opening it as it may contain a virus.

17. Always treat people on the internet the same way you would want them to treat you.

18. Be careful who you trust on-line because you can never be sure who you are chatting to on the Internet, anyone can pretend to be someone they are not — that 15 year old boy may actually be a 45 year old sexual predator.

19. Do not use your cellphone to send sexually suggestive messages (sexting) as this information may end up on the Internet. While flirting is a natural instinct for teenagers, the advancement of technology has opened up a whole new way to pursue someone or to be pursued, sexting can have horrible outcomes, do not do it.

20. Never post pictures or video that is suggestive, obscene, violent, rude or very personal. Remember, once you post it on the internet it is there forever –—the Internet has no delete key, once there, always there.

Remember, colleges and businesses do online background checks and any bad behaviour or suspicious activities can be discovered. Remind your children that their actions today may one day come back to haunt them.

Please share this information with the young people you know. 

Consumer Affairs has a whole section dedicated to teens, please visit our web-site today for more useful information –

Honey Adams Bell is the education officer for Consumer Affairs.