Published by Leyre Velasco, 3rd May 2012
Today in La Piazza we present a quick 10-question post for parents to test how safe their teens are online. So, if you are a parent, sit down with your kid and before he/she answers the questions, explain to him/her that this exercise is to be done jointly. The purpose is for both of you to know if he or she is safe when using the Internet and to improve security measures if necessary.
Do stress that, although he/she may not be aware of it, the Internet entails serious dangers such as fraud, sexual harassment, bullying, etc. Do not alarm him but speak firmly. The reason why most teenagers don’t take enough precautions is because they are either misinformed or disinformed.
Finally, ask him/her to be honest about it. The whole point of answering the questions is not for your teen to get a grilling but actually for you as a parent to learn how to protect your most precious treasure: your child.
Because the Internet is just another road you have to teach your children how to cross. And this is a road they love to cross. Plus, they do so every day.
Ready? Here go the questions. Ask your kid to write down the answers on a piece of paper. Once the test is completed, add up the points per answer (check section Score points) and finally, check the Results section to see how safe, risky or dangerous your kid’s online practices are.
- Does your screen name identify you as a boy or a girl?
- Have you ever posted any personal information of yours or anyone else without explicit consent?
- Have you ever uploaded your picture or family or friends without your parent’s consent?
- Have you ever filled out online forms, questionnaires, profile pages without your parent’s consent?
- Have you ever purchased anything online without permission?
- Have you ever shared your passwords with someone other than your parents?
- Have you ever downloaded and installed software without your parent’s knowledge?
- Have you opened emails from total strangers?
- Have you ever agreed to meet in person someone you have only met online?
- Have you ever been involved in chat sessions with people using vulgar expressions or sexually explicit language?
How to calculate your scores
- Add 1 point if you answered YES to questions 1, 2, 3 and 6
- Add 2 points if you answered YES to questions 5 and 7
- Add 3 points if you answered YES to question 4
- Add 5 points if you answered YES to questions 8, 9 and 10
If you scored… 0-2 points
You are SAFE!
Well done!!! You are cautious when you go online to chat with your friends because you are well aware of the dangers the Internet entails. Your passwords are usually strong, mixing alphanumerical characters, you never share them with anyone and you certainly think twice before you download applications. You never, ever chat to strangers and your online friends are not only acquaintances but people you know well. And you frequently talk to your parents about your online habits.
Our advise: Keep it up and teach your fellow students and friends how they can also improve their online experience.
If you scored… 3-4 points
You are at RISK!
OK, you would never meet anyone you don’t know online and you would never share information with strangers. However, you have uploaded pictures of friends or members of your family and have not told them, you don’t think downloading cool apps is dangerous and have done so occasionally. If you get a friend request from someone you don’t know, you do tell your parents.
Our advise: There is certainly room for improvement in the online safety department. You are aware certain security measures have to be taken when going online but you are still dangerously chancing it! So, overall, you need to make sure you don’t share any personal information at all. Also, choose strong passwords and review your online practises with your parents. Afterwards, do take the test again.
If you scored… 5-26 points
You are in REAL DANGER!!!!
Your online profiles describe you so well that you have included your postal address and school you go to, plus all kinds of pictures of you and your friends, family, pets, etc. You use the Internet pretty much for everything, to download all kinds of applications, meet people online, chat, etc. You are an extrovert and have accepted friend requests from people you don’t even know because you think if he is one of your friend’s friends, it is OK. Sometimes you have chatted with people who used “bad words” but never told your parents because they will probably worry too much.
Our advise: You must RADICALLY change the way you use the Internet. First of all, sit down with your parents and review the personal information you share with others. Also, remove any strangers from your friends lists. Should you ever encounter strangers online, do speak to your parents about it. Change your passwords and choose strong, alphanumerical ones. Finally, take the test again until you get the lowest score (0-2 points – Safe).