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The internet can be a source of fun, learning, and friendship for children and teens. Many kids take classes or music lessons, play games, or connect with their friends online. But the digital world can also expose them to problems, such as cyberbullying and internet porn. It's important to know what your child is doing online. Here are some ideas for how to stay aware of your child's online activity.
This may mean checking multiple devices, including their computer, tablet, phone, or smart TV—any device that has an internet connection.
Some experts say that preteens should not be on social media. But for most teens, social media is how they interact with their friends. If your child is on social media:
This is often how adults who prey on children engage with them. Discuss this risk with your child. Help your child understand the difference between real-life friends and people they know only online. Talk to your child if you see they've been chatting with anyone they don't know in real life.
Parental control apps can help you know what your child is doing on their devices. But kids can often figure out ways to get around these controls.
Include what kinds of sites and apps they can use and when they can be on them. Also decide what will happen if your child doesn't follow the rules. Review and update your plan as your child matures. Teens will want and expect more privacy.
Talk to your child if you notice changes in behaviour, such as being more secretive, withdrawn, angry, or anxious. These could be signs of online bullying or other problems your child needs help with. If you have concerns, talk to your child's doctor.
Current as of: March 1, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Andrew Littlefield PhD - Psychology, Behavioral Health & Donald Sproule MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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