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Handy Tips

Ages 12-14:

  • Since children this age are more likely to explore on their own, set up clear parental rules, limits, and periodic check-ins.
  • Continue to explore together as much as possible.
  • Give children a basic understanding of the laws governing online behavior and the consequences of breaking them.
  • Set clear rules about which chat rooms are acceptable for your teenager, and how much time can be spent there.
  • Be sure your children understand the actions that can be taken if people harass them online or do anything inappropriate.
  • Set a budget for online expenses and monitor it. Pay particular attention to games that your teenager might download or copy. Many are great fun, but others are extremely violent. Parents need to set limits about what is acceptable and what is not.

Ages 15-18:

  • Ask your teenager for help researching topics of interest to the family (follow-up on a family discussion, family vacation, a new purchase).
  • Talk to your teenager about new things online and encourage discussion of new experiences.
  • Make sure your teenager knows the legal implications of online behavior.
  • Watch time limits to make sure your teenager is still pursuing a well-rounded set of activities.
  • If your teenager is especially interested in computers, encourage him or her to help younger children with their online explorations (try the local Boys or Girls Club) or to help a school or nonprofit organization get set up.

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