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Teaching Teens How To Handle Inappropriate Content

The internet is vast. How big is it exactly?

  • Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube (1)
  • 100 hours of video uploaded per min to YouTube (1)
  • 350 million new photos uploaded to Facebook everyday (2)
  • 500 million tweets per day (3)
  • Over 633 million websites on the internet (4)
  • 60 million photos uploaded per day (5)

Issues with internet content

We need to remember that the internet is unregulated and full of unverified information. So let’s not be too quick to accept everything we read, as it has the power to shape our thinking.

Examples of inappropriate content on the internet include websites that:

  • Encourage illegal activities e.g. gambling
  • Encourage participation in dangerous activities e.g. inflicting self-harm
  • Make you feel uncomfortable, guilty, confused or embarrassed e.g. pornography

Questions to teach your teenage children to ask when evaluating a website

Compared to the past where people go to the library to source for information, what is the first thing you do now when you encounter a question? You will probably Google for a quick answer on the internet first!

Here are some tips to help you assess the credibility of a website when you need to use the internet for research purposes:

  1. Who runs the website?
    Is it clear which company or organisation is responsible for the information on the website? This information is usually found in the ‘About Us’ section or tab.
  2. What is the purpose of the website?
    Is the primary purpose of the website educational or for profit/gain?
  3. Who is responsible for the information?
    Use the suffix of the web address as a clue (e.g. .gov – government agencies, .edu – academic institutions)
  4. How is the information documented?
    Are references to the information readily available? Are the claims substantiated?
  5. Is the information current?
    When was the page last updated? Is there a time-stamp?
  6. Is contact information readily available?
    Is there a way to verify if the company or organisation is legitimate? E.g. real contact information to reach someone via email, telephone or office address.