Teenagers Chatting Online, risks of social media, Addition to social media, online gaming, Online safety for kids, texting online with strangers

17 October, 2021

Who is my teen chatting with online?

By: Lorena Patrucco, RECE, B.A (Psych), M.A.

A frequent topic that comes up in my counselling sessions is concerns regarding online safety. Video games, social media, and chats with others outside teen’s boundaries of their real-life world. Covid-19 pandemic has definitely accelerated the creation and use of the “new social-digital spaces”  for teens. 

 

The surge of online communication has certainly benefited many of us as well as youths to cope with the unprecedented time. For example, learning platforms, chatting with families and closest friends, and playing online. Beyond the benefits of connections with friends and family, many youth experience isolation increasing their desire and need to connect with “new online friends”. 

 

DO WE KNOW WHO THOSE ONLINE FRIENDS ARE? NOOOOOO! Do they know who they are interacting and sharing personal information with?

Teenagers chatting online

Probably not, but youths find these interactions easier, accessible, and with less strings attached. But, what are the drawbacks of these online interactions?

For many parents, it is the scariest thing about our children’s digital life. Whether it is a predator trying to make contact or a sexual insinuation, it is important to educate our children about online safety.

Unfortunately, we are not always going to be around to prevent unexpected situations, but we can make sure our children know what to do if they face an “online friend” with bad intentions. 

 

Here are some tips to recognize potential red flags and guide your teen to engage online safely.

  • Become a guiding voice in your teen’s head. Find a few minutes when your child is receptive to engage in conversations regarding online safety and social media management.
  • Increase awareness in terms of information sharing with “online friends” Sharing personal information and/or pictures is not a safe move. This would be RED FLAG! 
  • Make sure your child avoids using applications that teens could make contacts with adults, such as Tinder or Zoorks
  • Keep account settings PRIVATE!
  • Set limits on where or when your teen could use their electronics (For example in common areas it is safe…but not alone in their bedrooms at night)
  • Make sure you allow your teen to use age-appropriate applications and respect the recommended age (For example, Tik-tok is recommended for age 15 + due to privacy issues and mature content)
  • The safests tip is, “if you do not know this person in real life, do not talk to them online” STRANGER DANGER! 
Get more information, recommendations and parenting strategies in our Blog PostTeenegers chatting online

Family Counselling, Family Theraphy, Child Counselling, Child Therapy, counselling for kids, Adults, Child Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Therapist, ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, Behavioural Issues, Learning Disabilities, Autism, ODD, Social Emotional Issues, Self Regulation. Our therapy specialties include: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Behaviour Therapy, Collaborative Problem Solving, Social Skills Training, Strength-based Approach, Play Therapy, Dialectic Behaviour Therapy (DBT), and Psychodynamic Therapy. Harmony Counselling, Lorena Patrucco, Mississauga. Oakville, Burlington, Brampton, Etobicoke, Milton, Georgetown

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