But there are things you can do to minimize that risk, now, before it starts.
- Digital self-defense, where you are careful about choosing passwords and sharing them, is where you start.
- Then, you need to make sure that they are using privacy settings and not inviting in friends they don't know in real life.
- Teach them not to provoke fights online and treat others with respect.
- If someone says something mean to them, make sure they stop, block and tell! (Stop and not answer back, block the person or message and tell a trusted adult.)
- Keep them off sites that are designed for older teens or adults and teach them not to lie about their age. It invites trouble.
- And, if they are in a frenemy dispute and engaged in digital drama with someone, change their passwords to make sure no one gets in, and keep them occupied offline in things they enjoy.
Don't be afraid, be prepared instead.