The Telegraph reported on my most recent e-book – A Guide to Managing Your Teenager’s Personal Information Online – this week. You can read the full article here.
The teenager guide is designed to equip parents and carers with the information they need to help empower young people to use the Internet in a productive way. It offers helpful advice about how to build a positive online presence, discusses e-safety, and explains why online reputation management is a reality for teenagers today.
Last month the BBC published a news report on how students are losing sleep over social media. According to the article – “fear of ‘missing out on something’ was cited as the main reason for students sacrificing sleep.” A poll of 250 students at a school in Cheshire was conducted. It revealed that the teenagers spent an “average of three to four hours on the social networks every night” resulting in overtired students.
Meanwhile Andrew Halls, a Headmaster of a leading independent school in Wimbledon was reported by The Mail Online as saying: “The rise of social networking sites is putting children at greater risk of bullying and body image worries than ever before.” Mr Halls warns that teenagers are under “constant scrutiny on websites such as AskFM, Little Gossip, Facebook and Instagram.”
Although many schools adhere to guidelines issued by Ofsted (the UK’s Offices for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) with regards to e-safety provision in schools, there is no guarantee that e-safety is embedded within the curriculum. Campaigners are calling for the Government to review sex and relationship guidance for schools.
So, as a parent or carer of a young person living their lives online, how can you help?
- It is just as important for you to act as a ‘role model’ online as it is offline.
- Discuss e-safety with your teenager, just as you would any other risks or dangers.
- Talk to them about the advantages and the hazards of communicating online.
- Make sure they know how to set the privacy settings on social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter. Privacy settings should be set to ‘friends only’ so that their content has a limited audience.
- Establish basic rules for Internet use and support them in keeping their social media profiles clean.
- Advise them not to share ‘private’ information such as phone numbers and personal details publicly.
- Advise them to turn off the GPS ‘check-ins’ on their mobile devices so they cannot be pinpointed at any time.
- Be aware of online dangers such as cyberbullying, trolling or sexting. Ensure your teenager knows how to block someone online and how to report an online incident should one occur.
- Monitor how many hours your teenager spends on the Internet. For younger children, place computers and consoles in a family area of the home to prevent excessive or inappropriate usage. Set up parental controls.
If you or your teenager requires support with any issue relating to online reputation please contact me for a confidential discussion.