Step 1: Keep the computer out of the bedroom
By keeping your home computer in communal space rather than in your child's bedroom, you'll be able to keep closer tabs on what they are doing. Set up the computer in your family room, den or even off the kitchen.
Step 2: Set the ground rules
Talk to your kids openly about the dangers of the Internet (both predators and cyberbullies), as well as the importance of privacy/anonymity and appropriate behavior. Let them know that you are going to be monitoring their Internet, cell phone and text activity.
Step 3: "Friend" them
Is your teen spending a lot of time of Facebook? Become their Facebook friend to keep an eye on their social interaction. If you allow your younger teens to use social media sites, be sure that you have the password to their accounts to stay on top of their online activity.
Step 4: Use a monitoring program
Subscribe to a monitoring program or service such as SpectorSoft, SafetyWeb, My Mobile Watchdog or other programs. These types of services allow you to block certain websites, log keystroke activity and record all Internet (and mobile phone) history. With some programs you can even view what your child is doing online in real time, while other services will alert you of any suspicious activity.
Cyberbullying, identity theft and online predators are real dangers. However, with diligence and communication, you can monitor your child's online activities and protect them as much as possible.
More about online safety
Teens and the consequences of social media
Hidden cell phone dangers
Digital parenting: How to keep kids safe online