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#AskAnExpert: How Should I Navigate Online Privacy with My Tweens and Teens?

Image Source: Thinkstock
Image Source: Thinkstock

Babble is partnering with the experts at Kids in the House to help you tackle your toughest parenting challenges.

This month, we’re bringing you advice on how to navigate online privacy with your tweens and teens from five of America’s leading experts. Have a question? Tweet @BabbleEditors using #AskAnExpert.

Openly Spy on Them Until They’ve Proven They’re Responsible

When you give your teen access to the Internet, you have to explain the dangers it can bring. Teens need to prove to parents they can be responsible online, and parents should explain they are going to “openly spy” on their tween or teen until they can prove so. This includes checking history on search engines, monitoring text messages, etc. If teens can prove their responsibility, then parents can slowly pull back on monitoring.

Michael J. Bradley, EdD, is an award-winning author and has been a psychologist for over 30 years. He has appeared on over 400 radio and television shows and is recognized as a specialist in adolescent behavior and parenting.

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Don’t Let Them Charge Their Phone in Their Bedroom

You are the parent who pays the phone bill and it is your right to look at your child’s phone. In the beginning, it is important for you to monitor them because as much as kids believe their texts are private, those messages can easily be spread to other people quickly. Also, encourage phone charging in a place other than the bedroom so that your tween is not prone to staying up or waking up late at night to text.

Yalda T. Uhls, MBA, PhD, is the Regional Director of Common Sense Media and a mother of two. Her research with the Children’s Digital Media at UCLA has been featured in the New York TimesTIME magazine, and more. She is a leading voice in technology, emphasizing the power of media content to appropriately inspire, teach, and socialize children.

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Monitor Their Online Activity

Just because a child might know about the use of the Internet or know more about technology than you do as a parent does not mean that you are not responsible for monitoring his or her use of the Internet. As the adult, it is your job to monitor your teen to make sure he or she is not misusing technology.

Randall Devine is a Special Agent with the FBI working in the Los Angeles Area.

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Create a Contract That Outlines Rules for Online Devices

Make sure you outline rules for your teen when he or she uses an online device. Decide who has access to the accounts and passwords, how much personal information your tween is allowed to use online, and even how long your teen is allowed to spend online. Once the terms have been outlined and agreed upon, both the parents and teenager should sign the contract. This contractual agreement will keep the rules in place and teach your child responsibility.

Lori Getz, M.A., is an educator, mother, and Internet Safety Specialist with a Master of Arts in Educational Technology. As the founder of Cyber Education Consultants, she aims to bridge the gap between a young generation of digital natives and their parents and teachers.

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Teach Them the “Enter Factor”

Once you hit “enter” on the keyboard, your information is out to the world and it never comes back. Teach tweens that whether they post a picture they don’t want to be seen, type an inappropriate status, or anything else, that information will live in the digital world forever. Teaching tweens the “enter factor” will help them learn to be accountable for their digital footprint.

Jonathon Fishman is a father, technology expert, and founder of Ben’s Ranch, a company aiming to start the conversation about how technology empowers the user. Jonathon’s company focuses on technology usability and safety.

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What else would you want to ask an expert? Comment on this post with your questions or tweet @BabbleEditors using #AskAnExpert

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