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Protect Your Teen’s Online Identity

How to get savvy about social networking sites where cyberbullies lurk.

Protect your teen's online privacy. Photo from 123RF(r).

Do you remember someone in your teenage life that you admired and wanted to be just like in every way? You might have copied her look or style, but then you became your own person with your own unique identity and personality.

Today, teens don’t have to copy others in reality. They can do it much more easily online, and it’s causing havoc. Teens are using social networking sites to create fake and copycat identities and accounts to cyberbully other teens.

The fake person will create a new account stealing the name, photos and content of the person they want to become.

This gives them the power to hurt and cyberbully the real person by posting unflattering content and images without revealing their true identity.

Here are a few suggestions on how to protect your teen daughter from getting her identity stolen.

1.   First of all, many states are now implementing identity theft laws against cyber or digital impersonation. Here is a link for how to stay safe online.

2.   Search the social networking sites for her name, likeness and photos. Confirm that each account is real and report any fake accounts to the social network’s fraud department.

Ask the webmaster of the site to remove the fake account immediately. Stay on them until the fake account is offline.

3.   Keep documentation of the fake account and information just in case you need the information for legal reasons.

4.   Encourage your teen daughter to remain calm during this time and remind her not to feed into the lies that are being said or posted about her. 

This will be challenging because her emotions will be involved. Limit her time online until the fake account is removed so she won’t be consumed with what is being said.

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)

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