High school teens are living their lives online. They’re checking their friends’ status updates (and posting their own), they’re watching their favorite shows, they’re uploading photos and videos, they’re playing games, chatting on IM, video chatting, exploring their interests, and accessing information and files that fuel their passions. They’re also becoming part of Internet culture, where it’s all about what’s new right now. Because information on the Internet moves at the speed of light, high schoolers are likely to get involved in new stuff long before you’ve gotten used to yesterday’s news.
Internet safety at this age requires that you continue to monitor high-schoolers’ online lives, staying as involved as you can and injecting your own values to counteract some of the less desirable aspects of the Internet. In the high school years, teens’ online interactions can really affect their futures. Much of what they discover and contribute to can be positive and enriching -- if they play by the rules. If not, their privacy, reputation, and even their physical safety could be at risk.
While the use of the Internet has immense benefits in terms of learning and career preparedness, it is important to recognize that the Internet is a public and global medium, and therefore there are inherent risks in using this tool. It is therefore, important, that anyone using the Internet establishes a set of practices to protect themselves while using the Internet. The term that is commonly used to refer to such safety practices is Internet Safety. Internet safety practices usually include practices for protection of your well being (i.e. practices to avoid online predators, online bullying, online harassment, or exposure to offending material online) protection of your personal information (i.e. practices to avoid identity theft or Internet fraud), and protection of your data (i.e. protection against Internet virus, malware, or other types of infections that produce data loss: your documents, pictures, media, etc).
Parents and students can access the following links to retrieve tips and guidelines relating to Internet safety and begin (continue) the discussion of Internet safety at home: