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Teens online

Little dependent gamer boy playing on laptop at homeMost teens will spend time online and you’ll want this to be a positive experience for your child. The internet can be a tricky place to navigate and your teen will need your help to stay safe using the internet.

  • Cyberbullying is a way of using the internet to target and upset someone.
  • Online grooming is when an adult gets friendly with a child to take advantage of them. If they seem to be having online conversations, ask to see who they are speaking to. If they have found new ‘friends’ online, remind them that people can pretend to be someone else online. Tell your child to treat anyone they meet online as a stranger, even if the person seems to be genuine. Tell them not to share personal information, like their full name or address. Encourage your teen to follow their instincts and speak to a trusted adult if they feel uncomfortable about something.
  • Online record – everything that is written or uploaded online will be recorded and can be accessed by others. This could impact them throughout their life.
  • Upsetting content including that of a violent or sexual nature. Set up parental controls on all devices used for accessing the internet, to prevent your child from seeing distressing or inappropriate content.

Chat with your teen

Parent and teen on the sofaOne of the most important ways to keep your child safe is to chat with them about what they do online. Have open conversations giving your child time and space to think about what is being discussed and to talk without any blame or interruption. Let your child guide you if there’s something you don’t understand or that concerns you. Try to see things from their point of view, the way a teen spends time online will be very different to the way adults do. Showing you understand how important their time online is can help these difficult conversations. NSPCC has lots more advice available to help you have difficult conversations with your child. Encourage your teen to treat people with kindness and respect online as if they were talking to them face-to-face.

Useful resources

  • The NSPCC has six tips to improve your family’s online wellbeing and an online quiz to help identify the real from the fake, to avoid seeing negative or harmful content and what to do if a mistake is made online.
  • NSPCC and provide online safety help and advice for parents and carers.
  • To report criminal activity, visit the Internet Watch Foundation.
  • You can also contact the Kent School Health Service – we really want to hear from you if you feel you need more support for you and your child.
  • If you are worried that your teen is at immediate risk call 999