The new conversation parents must have with their children

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - If your "tween" is already asking for a smart phone, this is information you should read.

A new study shows almost 80% of teens now own a smart phone and many parents have told us they aren't sure where to start to protect their kids.

It's almost as big a step as getting a driver's permit.  You are teaching them to drive on the internet and then one day they are driving around on the web without you on their smart phone.

WBTV Cyber Expert Theresa Payton offers some On Your Side advice for parents who are in or approaching this new life stage with their kids:

1.  Stranger Danger:  Assume everyone, even friend requests from people you know, could be a stranger

2.  Phishing Scams:  Make sure they understand that contests, pleas for help, and lotteries are ALWAYS phishing scams

3.  Building Your Billboard:  Remind them that every like, picture, video, post are building their personal billboard

4.  Prying Apps:  Check their apps regularly to see which apps are spying on them and turn on privacy features

5.  Settings:  Privacy settings on your phone are a great tool to use

6.  Share passwords:  As long as you are paying for the phone, you have a right to know and share passwords with them

7.  Show and Say:  Play internet safety games together

8.  Texting While Driving:  If you think that your teen is texting while driving, there are some helpful apps you can install to help them resist that temptation.

Web Resources:

1.  Online safety games and videos on all safety topics, click here.

2.  Tool for helping your teen track their personal billboard at

3.  Videos on texting while driving, click here.

4.  Tools to stop texting while driving:  Drive Off, Drive Mode, Text Buster

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