Ask The Expert: Is There A Safe Way For My Teen To Shop Online?

We answer your online safety questions with the help of the experts, CyberSafeIreland. Is there a safe way for teens to shop online?


" When is it considered OK to allow a teenager to shop online? My daughter’s friends are allowed to buy clothes from websites like ASOS and cosmetics from pharmacies and online retailers. I am nervous about giving my daughter my bank card to use online but she desperately wants the independence to browse and shop herself. I trust she will spend the agreed amount but I feel she doesn’t understand how dangerous online shopping can be and that some websites are not safe. Help! "


Thank you for your query. This is an area of concern for
many other parents, especially when it is fuelled by the pressure that
accompanies hearing that your children’s friends are already “allowed” to
participate in these activities.

We recently covered the topic of discussing the idea of a “digital footprint” with young people (insert article link) and this is the first place to start. Knowledge is power and many young people may not understand the huge responsibility behind making a purchase online.

“Our children are now using credit
and debit cards to make online purchases, and, in many cases, it is without any
consideration for the safety concerns associated. It is uncommon for a young
person to worry about a bank account being hacked through an unsecure website
or card details falling into the wrong hands. These innocent purchases for
clothes, food and travel could have disastrous consequences for the card and
bank account holder. Every single purchase and exchange has a digital footprint
and it is essential that young people understand the huge responsibility that
this entails for them if they are making an online purchase.”

In an ideal world all online
shopping will occur in the presence of an adult. If you are allowing your child to use your
bank card to make an online purchase you must ensure that they are using a
trusted website with appropriate safety measures in place when it comes to
private information and card details. You can learn more about this here on the
Cyber SafeIreland website here.

This query is similar to concerns that other parents will have about online gaming and the purchases that occur within them. According to Cyber SafeIreland “One of the things that has changed most in gaming over the last few years is the simple way in which games are sold. Once it was a simple matter, buying a game and experiencing all it had to offer, but now games are designed to be constantly evolving with additional premium content that can be downloaded from the internet, referred to as Downloadable Content (DLC).”.

We understand that approaching these topics with young people can pose many challenges. We hope that these posts will help you do just that.

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Tracey Quinn

Proud mum of two who got married on Don't Tell The Bride and had an accidental home-birth (loves a good story). She's passionate about breastfeeding, positive thinking & all things cosy.

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