HELP PARENTS KEEP TECH-SAVVY TEENS SAFE

June is Internet Safety Month and offers an opportune time to remind parents to educate their teens about playing it safe when they are online. With the rise of social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter, and more time on their hands during summer vacation, teens are able to retreat into their own digital worlds. While it might be difficult to keep up with the latest online fads, parents can actively monitor their teens’ Internet use to ensure their children are using these interactive tools safely.

Many teens say their parents are unaware of their online activities. Furthermore, nearly one-third (29%) of students say their parents would disapprove if they knew what they were really doing on the Internet.* It’s important for parents to take the time to learn about the many online dangers teens are exposed to on a regular basis to effectively keep them out of harm’s way.

Parents must also be mindful of teaching their teens to use their cell phones safely and to understand the ramifications of photo-sharing and video tools. Unwanted photos or videos showing teens in undesirable activities can easily be posted on sites like YouTube or MySpace and have lasting consequences. A recent survey indicates that 6 percent of teens who use social networking sites say someone has posted an embarrassing picture of them online without their permission.**

Here’s how you can help spread these important Internet safety messages to parents in your community: