Blue Suit Mom

4 Strategies to Protect Your Teen From Cyberbullies

Cyber bulliesOver 25 percent of teens have been victimized by online bullies, according to prevention website NoBullying.com. In an age where we are spending more and more time online, these statistics will likely only continue to grow. As our dependence on internet-based services flourishes, education is crucial for helping your child avoid becoming a victim of cyberbullies.

Here are a few prevention strategies your teen can use to thwart online bullies.

Protect Passwords

Teach your teen to protect her passwords and never share them, even with her closest friends. Teens often share passwords to check out other profiles in the anonymity of a friend’s account, but this can easily get your teen into trouble. For instance, a mischievous friend could make snide comments on other people’s posts using your teen’s account, or she could even post embarrassing photos, posing as your teen.

Teach your teen to use complex passwords, never including personal information that makes a password easy to guess. The same password should not be used on multiple websites. Using many different passwords can make it tricky to keep track of them all, which is why it’s really helpful to use a secure password manager program.

You can take password security a step further by using a mobile device with a fingerprint scanner, like the Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphone. With devices like this, certain apps require a fingerprint scan, which will help protect your teen from identity theft on social networks.

Never Reveal Personal Information Online

Online trolls look for vulnerabilities and use those against unsuspecting victims. To avoid becoming a target, teach your teen the importance of keeping all personal information offline. A home address, phone number, email address or Social Security number should never be revealed on social media or anywhere else online.

There are a few exceptions when this is necessary, like when applying to college online, so teach your teen to discuss it with you before disclosing any of this sensitive personal information online. After a few discussions, he or she will be able to discern the difference on their own and prevent identity thieves from using this information.

Social media geotags pose an additional risk that your teen may not even be aware of. By geotagging posts on Instagram and Snapchat, your teen is showing their exact location. If posting at home, this is just as bad as publishing your home address in a post. Explain the dangers of geotags to your teen and work together to switch off geotagging in their favorite social media apps.

Make the Most of Privacy Settings

Social media privacy settings are designed to prevent strangers from gaining access to information that isn’t intended for prying eyes. While your teen may want to keep their accounts public to build a following and increase social influence, help them understand the dangers that this can present, like identity theft and cyberbullying.

Each social media app has its own unique privacy options and settings. Review the options for each service that your teen uses by doing a Google search of “(app name) privacy settings” to get specific instructions for how to adjust your teen’s privacy settings within the app.

Block Anyone Questionable

In order to avoid cyberbullies and other undesirable characters online, teach your teen to be discerning of follower and friend requests, blocking anyone who seems suspicious. Blocking isn’t limited to social media. You can block calls and texts from specific phone numbers on cell phones, too. If your teen is being harassed by a bully via phone, block the number immediately.

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