There are steps that can be taken towards keeping teenagers safe online, but the fact of the matter is adults can’t constantly be stood looking over their kids shoulder watching what they’re getting up to every time they log on. I believe it is important however, that parents do promote and encourage online safety. I also think, that if technology is becoming such a big part of our lives, that it’s something teenagers should be educated thoroughly about in school; shown in depth how to apply filters, settings and theory about knowing who to trust online.
Online we (when using social media) have the ability to control our privacy settings regulating the amount of information that we choose to reveal about ourselves to the public. There is a worry that teenagers don’t realise the importance of withholding certain information and ending themselves up in danger unintentionally (Boyd and Marwick 2011).
It’s too easy when signing up for websites etc that when asked to supply your personal details e.g to supply your phone number or address, you do it without even a second thought not realising where this information could end up or who it might be accessible to. It’s almost second nature to ‘do as your told’ in a sense that when a website asks you to fill something in, you do so without thinking where this information is going.
Danah Boyd a well established Principle Researcher at Microsoft research believes that all teens have a sense of privacy and that adults today are too quick to judge the idea that they have rejected privacy as a value simply because of their participation on social media sites (Boyd and Marwick 2011).
It’s a good idea to turn on the firewall for your computers, especially on things such as family computers. A firewall is something that prevents malicious software and hackers from entering and attacking your computer. Small things like this can help with teen safety online cause it helps prevent exposure and unwanted connections being made without approval (Microsoft 2015).
It’s all too easy for someone to make a fake profile online or to use an ‘age restricted’ website. The documentary ‘InRealLife’ shows two young boys aged 15 and their addiction to porn websites. They speak about how, although they enjoy these websites and use them for pleasure they are negativly shaping the way they view and treat females. The law states that to be able to watch these websites you must be 18 years of age or older. A teenager would not be able to purchase a DVD containing adult content from a store without being challenged for proof of age but on a website most of them allow instant access or a simple tick of a box certifying that you of the required age and they let you straight on (Javid 2015).
Concern was expressed just days ago by Conservatives after a recent ChildLine poll revealed that a tenth of 12 to 13-year-olds were worried about being addicted to pornography. As a result of this and the amount of teenage pornography counselling sessions doubling within the last year they are pushing for porn websites to adopt age restriction controls or they will be shut down (Wanless 2015).
The internet is a great way of meeting new people and forming relationships. Teenagers are sometimes unaware of the dangers of meeting a stranger who they have met online. Something that will be discussed further within the blog is online identities. If you do end up meeting someone you have met online, you should always make sure you tell someone where you are going no matter what age you are. It’s always important to consider safety both online and offline. (SafetyNet 2015).
BOYD, D., 2014. What is Privacy? [online]. 1 September 2014. Available from: http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/ [Accessed 5 April 2015].
BOYD, D. and MARWICK, A., 2011. Social Privacy in Networked Publics: Teens Attitudes, Practices and Strategies. [online]. Available from: http://www.danah.org/papers/2011/SocialPrivacyPLSC-Draft.pdf [Accessed 1 April 2015].
BOYD, D. and MARWICK, A., 2011. The Drama! Teen Conflict, Gossip and Bullying in Networked Publics. [online]. Social Science Electronic Publishing Inc. Available from: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1926349 [Accessed 1 April 2015].
JAVID, S., 2015. Porn sites must have age checks, say Conservatives. [online]. BBC News. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-32180744 [Accessed 7 April 2015].
MICROSOFT., 2015. Understanding windows firewall settings. [online]. Seattle: 2015 Microsoft. Available from: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/understanding-firewall-settings#1TC=windows-7 [Accessed 1 April 2015].
SAFETY NET., 2015. online safety. [online]. Safety Net Kids. Available from: http://www.safetynetkids.org.uk/personal-safety/online-safety/ [Accessed 2 April 2015].
WANLESS, P., 2015. Porn sites must have age checks, say Conservatives. [online]. BBC News. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-32180744 [Accessed 7 April 2015].