Chapter Preview: Ages 11 to 17 – From Tweens to Teens

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For anyone who asks what happens during the tween through teen years, the best answer is probably, “What doesn’t happen?!”

Just so you know, I’ve been there, done that, and got the T-shirt. And I survived. My kids were the first generation to grow up on social media. Like most teens in the mid-2000s, they got their first taste with MySpace and then switched to Facebook as the masses shifted there around 2009. They also got into other platforms, like Instagram, and stuck with them while others came and went. And yes, sharing almost every facet of their lives presented many challenges. I won’t get into details here as it might embarrass my kids, but suffice it to say that mistakes were made.

Being a security and privacy practitioner, I made sure there were lots of discussions on how to use these platforms safely. The early discussions centered on privacy and the permanence of data, but eventually led to security talks as the platforms were inundated with scams and other malicious activities. As you can imagine, when my kids were tweens and teens, the internet was a different place than it is today, and I’m sure it will be very different 10 to 15 years from now.


This chapter of “Is Your Digital Front Door Unlocked?” steps you through what your tween and teen face as they spend an increasing amount of time online and using connected things. It expands upon some of the topics discussed earlier in the book with more of an eye towards how those topics impact this age group, while offering advice and insights on topics that often surface at this age. We tackle some big topics too, such when to get your child a smartphone, how many children will make friends that they will only know online, cyberstalking, and the secret digital life of teens that every parent should know. This chapter packs a big punch—as it should, because these are some big years for parents and kids alike.

Gary Davis’ book, Is Your Digital Front Door Unlocked?, is available September 5, 2019 and can be ordered at

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