Teens Faced With Cyber Threats

“Mom, can you buy me an iPhone? I really need it! Everyone has one!!”

How many of you have heard this from your children? How many of you have given in and bought them a mobile device that gives your kids, at the youngest ages, full access to the world – with all of its enticing things and hazards, with vulnerability to predators and cyber-bullies? Many of us feel helpless when we are pressurized by the kids’ demand for modern technology.

Increasing popularity of social media and its accent on connecting to others has changed the communication patterns. It isn’t something we can protect our kids from. But it’s our duty to be ever-vigilant to prevent a smartphone you’ve handed over to your children from turning into a real problem. Here are the basics every parent needs to know:

The Big Picture

At first you might be wondering: will they lose this $600 piece of electronics? Will they run into a huge phone bill? Will they communicate in inappropriate ways? Is your kid aware of what is acceptable and what is not?

Any smartphone can be a medium for kids to share inappropriate or obscene photos and messages. These devices can also be used as the platforms for harassing or bullying others. Some of the apps used most often include names such as Facebook, Skype, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Omegle.

Three general areas where kids can get themselves into trouble with their smartphones are sexting, cyber-bullying and meeting with dangerous people they connect with online.

Sexting Among Teens

Sexting is a relatively new phenomenon that has been around for the past couple of years. Thousands of cell phone tracking apps provide a platform for kids to share obscene multimedia content and texts. One of the most popular of these apps (especially among iPhone users) is SnapChat that target user of 13 -24 years of age. It appeals to its users with its illusion of security – teens think that their sexting would be absolutely safe since they can specify the recipients and the content they send is supposed to disappear instantly with no permanent record, which prevents parents from monitoring. However, they are greatly mistaken because the recipient can easily take a screenshot of the sent photos or video and share with others.

Cyber-bullying

Electronic platforms have brought bullying to a new level of destructiveness. These platforms are used by millions worldwide to share any kind of content including obscene messages and embarrassing photos or videos. Often, such photos and videos are shared by a victim with someone who later betrays them by sharing the embarrassing content with someone else, making fun of the sender.

Cyber-bullying is the method teens use to gang up on one another. It lets a bully to spread rumours about a victim, which results in the damage inflicted on a victim.

Predators’ Dream

Apart from cyber-bullying and texting, these platforms give predators an ideal place for haunting their prey. These criminals create fake profiles with misleading info to lure their prey to meet them. There are thousands of apps that can connect you with people who live a close proximity to your location, which increases the risk of teens meeting these new online friends.

Tips to Keeps Kids Safe

  1. Create basic rules of using a smartphone.
  2. Discuss with your kid the risks of sharing content via social media.
  3. Install cell phone tracking software on their smartphone and monitor their activities to ensure their safety.
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One thought on Teens Faced With Cyber Threats

  • I give your article five stars for informative content. I agree with you and I am intrigued by all the effort you’ve put into this.

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