Why Conversations About Internet Safety Are More Important Than Parents Realize

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It isn’t easy to protect your kids online these days, and many parents struggle to find a happy medium where they can give their kids enough freedom to grow without compromising their safety. There are plenty of services available that can help parents keep tabs on their children — from iPhone monitoring software to Instagram monitoring tools, parents have the ability to trace every single webpage that their children have visited, and they can see every single text message that’s received.

But many parents are finding out that these parental control programs and social media monitoring services aren’t working as well in practice as they seem to work in theory. Teenagers always manage to find a way around rules — if you’ve been a teen yourself (and every adult has been a teen at some point, so you can’t argue with this one), you know that kids and teenagers are particularly adept at circumventing parental rules.

Parents are probably already used to the uncomfortable and notorious “Talks” that need to happen when their kids get into middle school, but most parents don’t expect that these Talks need to include discussions about internet safety as well. Nevertheless, it’s becoming clear that having open conversations about internet safety can be just as effective, if not more effective, than social media monitoring software.

Kids and teens already know that the internet can be a dangerous place, and the majority of young adults (about 68%) think that cyberbullying — one of the biggest underestimated dangers of social media — is a problem. Even though an estimated 95% of teens on social media have seen other users ignore instances of cyberbullying, about 84% of teens say that they have defended someone being bullied online, or have seen someone else defend the victim.

Most parents turn to things like social media monitoring software because they don’t know how to approach the subject of internet safety before it’s too late — but sometimes the best way to protect your kids online is to have an open and honest conversation about internet safety and social media. Who knows, you might end up learning some tips from your kids in the process!

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