Friday, July 4, 2014

Online Etiquette and Security for Teens

It's best not to go online if you are really upset about something. Venting your anger or crushed feelings online can make you a target by others who are not so polite.
Etiquette and cyber security topics that parents should discuss with, and teach their teens:
Refraining from revealing personal information; where they go to school, where they live, revealing  pictures of themselves. Teens need to know that they are not being rude by not answering personal questions from complete strangers, or even people whom they've only met online and consider their "friends."   
It is okay for them to give responses such as, "I'm sorry, but I don't feel comfortable giving out personal information online." To be rude, would be to respond to personal questions with something like, "That is none of your business." 
Advising them not to give their passwords to friends. A friend today can be a 'frenemy' tomorrow, who now has access to your teen’s account. He or she may pose as your teen and post very hurtful comments for the other friends to read. 
Staying kind to others! It may look like just a screen in front of you, but there's another person on the receiving end. Cyber civility is just the same as face to face civility. If I can’t say that to your face, then I shouldn’t post it either. Those mean comments may be construed as bullying to others 
Discouraging secrecy… remind your teens that social media is very public. They have no control over who actually reads their posts.
Teach them not to hand someone their smartphone to see a photo.  Teach them to hold the phone to allow others to look at it, otherwise the photo can accidently be deleted, or worse, it could purposely be done. If someone hands you their phone to look at a picture, don't scroll through the rest of them. They are none of your business.       
Remind your teens that social media is very public. They have no control over who actually reads their posts. 
Using different usernames and passwords. Many teens use the same username and password for all of their sites. It's not a good idea. If someone figures out your security information, they'll have access to everything on your computer. Set-up different usernames and passwords for maximum protection. 
Encouraging your teens to know their school policy surrounding the use of the computer. Teach them what plagiarism really is. If a university student uses someone else’s ideas as their own even if it’s repackaged, this is stealing and most post-secondary institutions take a very dim of this. Ignorance is not a defense. This goes on their record.
Finally, try to make a plan with your teen to unplug from the gadgets at least one day during the week. Everyone (including Moms and Dads) need to find fun, interesting ways to reconnect again as human beings. Include other families in some of your expeditions so more people can benefit together.

Internet Safety, Teens and Civility

In 2012, McAfee released a survey in the outlining the results of teens and their online behavior The shocking statistic is that 70% of those responded admitted to hiding their online behavior from their parents. This was up from 45% in 2010 when the same survey was conducted. Why the huge jump in figures? According to McAfee spokesman, Robert Siciliano, the two main reasons are the sheer explosion of social media and ad-sponsored pornography that is available. Plus, with smartphones, teens have full access to Internet wherever they are without the parental controls found on their computer at home. 
Some of the tactics used to hide behaviour included:
  • Clearing their browser history.
  • Closing or minimizing browser windows when parents walked into the room.
  • Hiding or deleting instant messages or videos.
  • Using another computer in the home that wasn’t screened.
 A large number of parents mentioned trusting their children not to visit inappropriate sites. A quarter of the parents responded said there were no controls at home because of feeling overwhelmed by the technology. However, for the safety of their children online, parents need to become more savvy with these new gadgets & social media.
On a positive note, over 75% of the parents polled do have these conversations with their children. Almost half said that they were using parental controls. Despite the fact that these are American statistics, the numbers probably aren’t that different in Canada either. 
Parents shouldn’t be afraid to be assertive on this issue. These sites are huge time wasters and create an unnatural world for their teens. It increases their lack of empathy and lack of ability to communicate effectively. Ultimately, friendships may be badly affected by posts that hurt. These will all contribute to preventing them from maturing well into adulthood.  
While teens may be more savvy around the Internet than their parents, the bottom line is that they lack the experience and judgement to make wise choices.
The nation-wide survey included 1,004 13-17 year old teens and 1,013 parents conducted from May 4 – 29, 2012 with a margin or error plus or minus 3 percent.
Don't believe everything you read online.

Netiquette tips from teen Katie Diaz: Where would teens be without the use of a computer or smartphone these days? I hate to think about that! We need them for school, socializing, blogging, watching videos, etc... Of course, there must be etiquette rules for them.  These rules are called “Netiquette.”  
Respect for others is the key to politeness, and here are some rules for you and the keyboard:
  1. Don't believe everything you read online. 
  2. Never use someone else’s computer without permission or read someone else's e-mail without permission. 
  3. Never give out information about others while on-line without their permission and never gossip or spread rumors. 
  4. If a friend asks for another friend’s e-mail address, tell your friend that you need to check the address first.  Get permission from the second friend and make sure the address is accurate before giving it out. 
  5. Never change someone’s files around or snoop in other people’s files if you are using someone else's computer or phone. 
  6. When chatting, tweeting, texting, or IM'ing from someone else’s computer, be honest about who you are.  You would want honesty from others, right? 

By Canadian Contributor Maria Doll ~ An etiquette coach, Maria has been conducting personal consultations, workshops, camps and seminars for children, teens and young adults since 2009.  Her etiquette program and company Leadership Matters has been featured in print, radio & television media.