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Online safety for teens

The internet plays a huge role in young people’s lives. And while you might feel that your teenager knows more about it than you do, that doesn’t mean they always know how to stay safe. At this age, the decision-making part of the brain isn’t yet fully formed, which makes them more likely to do risky things ‘just for fun’ – and this can include taking risks online.

This is why it’s important to talk to your teen openly about the risks online, and what they can do to stay safe and secure.

Issues that affect teens

The internet is filled with amazing ways to consume and create content and to communicate with other people. But it’s not without its risks. So it’s a good idea to be aware of what your teen is consuming, creating and communicating, so you can talk to them about what to look out for and how to reduce the chances of having a negative experience online. Our page about online dangers outlines some of the risks they may face

Internet Matters also has lots of information and advice about things that can affect teens online.

Tips for helping teens keep safe online

Signs that something might be wrong

Here are some signs that your teen may be struggling with online issues:

  • Behaving secretively, for example, hiding their screen when you enter the room.
  • Creating new email accounts, social network profiles, etc.
  • Displaying strong emotional responses after being online.
  • Suddenly avoiding using their devices.

If you think something isn’t quite right, have a look at our page on what to do if your child has a negative experience.

We’ve also made a list of places you can go to find support for you and your teen if they run into a problem online.

For parents:

For young people:

Last updated: 30 Jan, 2024