5 Tips for Keeping Your Teens Safe Online

Worrying about your teen’s safety online is perfectly understandable. Whether it’s too much screen time, cyberbullying, misinformation, pornography, or fast payout casinos, the list of concerns related to internet use can seem endless.

These concerns have even become the subject of a new act, the Online Safety Act, planned to come into effect in 2025. The act aims to create a safer online space for children and teens by forcing website and app operators to do more to protect children by doing things like verifying ages and more diligently removing illegal content that’s directly harmful to those under the age of 18.

Even though this act is coming into effect, it’s been met with much controversy. Those opposed to it cite concerns over potential privacy invasions, as the act would permit Ofcom to request access to private messages from major apps and websites (like WhatsApp or iMessage). Others have felt it isn’t enough to protect children.

Regardless of where you stand on the Online Safety Act, there are things you can do at the individual level as a parent to keep your teen safe and give you more peace of mind and confidence in their online activities.

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1. Use Parental Controls

Parental controls are available from your network providers and on each device, app, and website you use. These controls allow you to manage everything from the type of content accessible to your child to how long they can use an app or website. You can change the controls based on your preference and your child’s age, which gives you flexibility as your child matures into their teen years.

Resources like Internet Matters can help you navigate these different control settings if you’re unsure how they work. They offer comprehensive guides on how to set up controls for a wide range of network providers, devices, and commonly used websites.

2. Monitor Online Activities

Monitoring your teen’s online activity can be a tricky line to walk, as you want to maintain your teen’s privacy, but you also want to check in to ensure everything is going alright. There are different ways of approaching this for your child.

Some parents choose to follow their teen’s social media accounts from their accounts so that they can see what’s being posted. Other parents may use monitoring tools available through the same settings used to set up parental controls within individual apps or networks, as they give parental accounts more access to their child’s account activity.

3. Familiarise Yourself With the Apps or Websites They Use

Familiarising yourself with the online spaces your teenager is spending time in is valuable, whether you download the latest social media app and try it out for yourself or read up on it through resources like Internet Matters.

Doing this gives you an idea of what the app does and what it requires of its users, and it also gives you the right language for talking to your teen about a specific platform or more general online activities. When you’re using the same terms, it’s easier to ensure you’re on the same page as your teen.

4. Talk With Them

Parental controls can only do so much to address concerns around internet use. Some things require trusting your teen to act appropriately, and this requires speaking with them about different aspects of online safety and providing them with the tools and resources they need to stay safe.

Talking with your teen could be as simple as making sure you guide them through password best practices, the importance of using privacy settings, and how to spot a scam. It could also involve having deeper discussions about the more serious impacts of how the online world can affect the real world.

These deeper conversations may involve discussing how a personal post or message can have long-lasting impacts on their online reputation, providing resources to use if they encounter cyberbullying or harmful content, or addressing how to deal with peer pressure (an inevitable part of growing up). These talks aren’t always easy or comfortable, but they help keep your teen safe and keep the dialogue open on an important subject.

Adding the subject of online activities to your daily casual conversations can also serve as an excellent way for both you and your teen to be comfortable talking about it. Consider adding questions about how things are going on a certain app or website to your daily routine, the same way you might ask them how school was that day — it could be as simple as asking about a funny video they saw that day. It’s simple, but it starts a conversation that signals to your teen that you’re there to talk with them on the subject.

5. Remember: It’s Not All Bad

While there’s a lot of worry about the dangers of being online, remember that not everything associated with it is bad. Just think of all the entertainment it’s offered or all the homework it’s helped with. In fact, for teens, being online has become an essential part of development, allowing your child to thrive socially and, of course, to learn how to use these devices as tools in their daily lives.


Keeping your teen safe online can be a difficult arena to navigate. It’s an essential component of daily life but also poses some very real safety concerns, and it’s up to you as a parent to find the balance between freedom and safety. These tips can help deliver more peace of mind so that you can feel more confident in your teen’s safety.

Author: Courtenay

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