They can use it to learn and play. Or others can use it to scare, berate, crush, and horrify them. Or they can use it to hurt themselves, leaving awful, revealing material out there to reappear throughout their lives.
This ain't Legos.
To fulfill their duty as parents, Stuart Leeds, clinical psychologist with Morris Psychological Group in Parsipanny, NJ, parents should stay interested in their kids' online life as the kids grow older.
It is essential to have RULES OF BEHAVIOR.
--Never post identifying info such as phone numbers, address, school, or age.
--No revealing photos, videos or texts.
--Never open email from an unknown source or download content from an unknown source.
--Never agree to meet in person someone you "met" online.
--Don't respond to messages that are threatening or inappropriate.
--Never send rude or damaging messages to someone else.
--Tell an adult if someone makes you feel uncomfortable.
Parents should take advantage of controls and blocks offered by the internet provider.
Activate blocks on your child's phone.
Disable cookies in the browser.
Make the child check before incurring an expense. Monitor your cards.
Make sure you can access your child's account and check it.
Kids can be horrible, feral brats and torment another child relentlessly. Try to show kids that in life 10% or more of people they meet just will not like them and will never start liking them. Help them put it in perspective.
I know--hard to do.