Summer is officially over and school is starting back up (or has already). The new school year means homework, activities, and friends. However, in today’s digital realm, it’s important to teach kids to be smart about their online presence. Today, we’re here to share some helpful digital rules for kids.
Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should
Social media often creates a false sense of security and privacy. If you’ve ever read the comments on any news post, you realize that such things don’t actually exist. When even some adults have a hard time grasping this reality, it’s even more difficult for tweens and teens to understand it. It’s important to teach your children that the Internet doesn’t guarantee anonymity. Let them know that saying hurtful, untrue, or threatening things online are the same as speaking them in person.
The Internet Never Forgets
This concept can be hard to remember, even for adults. The Internet has a funny way of keeping track of everything. Internet search histories, text messages, photos…no matter how you try to cover your tracks, the things you put out into the digital world can come back to haunt you. This includes screenshots from text messages and apps like Snapchat.
What Would Grandma Say?
As much as tweens and teens want to be considered and treated like adults, remember that their decision-making experience isn’t necessarily on the same level. A 25 year old (hopefully) isn’t as likely to make the same kind of mistakes as a 15 year old might.
A good way to explain this is to identify a mentor or person your child respects a great deal. Teach them to imagine this mentor reading or seeing what they’ve done online. If that person would be sad, angry, or disappointed by their actions, a good rule of thumb is not to do those things.
All The Feels
Adolescence can be a really weird time. We’ve all been there. Between hormones and learning to adjust to new social situations, being a teenager can be tough. However, it’s important to give kids a positive outlet for negative emotions.
There is a meme currently circulating on Facebook with the photo of an entire tube of toothpaste squeezed out onto a plate. Parents tell their children to put the toothpaste back into the tube. Can’t be done, right? This is a great visual for explaining to kids that words and actions are like that toothpaste. Once they’re out, they’re out. While you can try to get most of it back in the tube, it won’t be exactly the same. This is a great example of how to show your kids why it’s important to find constructive ways to deal with their emotions.
We’ll be back tomorrow with a second installment to help you and your kids become more digitally smart.