Does it seem like your teenager has a better relationship with their phone or computer instead of with you?  In a time where social media is so prevalent in the life of a teenager it is important that they too are aware of how they should maintain Operations Security, also known as OPSEC.  Helping them understand the significance of what they post in regards to mission operations, and whereabouts of their Marine can help protect sensitive, but unclassified, information.  It is best to talk to your teenager(s) as soon as you are aware that they are participating on social networking sites, and ensuring that they fully understand the consequences of what they post.  

A fun way to kick off your conversation may be to watch, “OPSEC: Sophia The Teenager”.  This video highlights a teenager talking about what she “doesn’t know” in regards to OPSEC.  Watch the video together, followed by a discussion with your teen about it.  Remind them about staying safe always.

 

Below are some important OPSEC speaking points to get you started: 

  • Privacy setting:  Ensure appropriate privacy settings are enabled on all electronic devices.  
  • Chatting or messaging friends:  Avoid Short Message Services (SMS) for texting. Instead encourage the use of  a secure messaging platform.
  • Pictures:  Avoid posting pictures of deployed parent(s) on social media or putting a caption describing where they are.
  • Departures/Homecoming:  Avoid announcing dates of when parent(s) are scheduled to depart or arrive home.

Teenagers miss their parents too, and oftentimes post messages about how much their parent is missed.  Or they may say something like “Going on vacay, while my dad is deployed”.  Many of their posts are innocent, and not a whole lot of thought goes into how simple information can have dire consequences.  While social media may serve as a communications platform between the teenager and the deployed parent, finding other secure sites to communicate would benefit everyone.  It is crucial to have these conversations up front whether or not there is a deployed parent involved.

Please contact your local Marine Corps Family Team Building office  for information on the next Social Networking Safety class.

Remember OPSEC is everyone’s responsibility!