In all their communications, comments and shares, kids should be attentive to the fact that they don’t appear rude, boorish, insensitive or sly. It does well to remember that what’s written and shared online remains there forever. Posting something mean or hurtful can cause future embarrassments. Teach your kids to be mindful of their language, as well as responding on time.
Kids should be taught early on to be mindful of their environment, their words and actions in order to avoid potential problems. When dashing off an email, remind them to slow down and recheck. Is it addressed to the right person? Are the salutation and subject lines correct? Has it been spellchecked?
When it comes to sharing content, it’s important to first verify the facts. Many careless shares have led to ugly social media spats, political unrest, resignations of people in high places, and the end of relationships.
At the same time, when commenting on posts or uploading pictures, think hard before you click “post.” Is it necessary? Relevant? True? Embarrassing or humiliating to anyone? Incendiary in content? A virus? Remind your kids to “Stop. Think. Connect.”
It’s better to be a little less aggressive and a little more understanding. Teach kids to think before replying or sharing online. Does this sound true or is it motivated? What can the possible outcomes of a reply be? Let them steer clear of any communication that harbor on bullying, abusing or spreading canards.
Sometimes content is misinterpreted and disagreements occur, just like in real life. Words are tools that can either be used as swords to wound or balm to soothe. Teach kids to communicate clearly and specifically, and desist from posting comments when angry.
Every person should expect to be treated decently and be decent in return. This is the basic right of every human being.
Unfortunately, the online world is filled with things that aren’t suitable for children’s eyes. Some people think don’t think twice about sharing inappropriate language or adult content when on social media. In addition, there are chatrooms where children can become victims of indecent behavior. Because of this, kids must be encouraged and feel safe to turn to a parent for advice when faced with indecent or inappropriate content.
Being truthful is an important value lesson we, as adults, can give to a child. Remind your child to always speak the truth and post only what they are sure is the truth. Also teach them that any contortion or omission of truth is a lie. This includes violation of piracy, plagiarizing, and or unauthorized downloading and sharing of content. Let kids know that if they are not sure of the source or the content, they must add a disclaimer to their post. Teach them the difference between free and copyrighted material, as well as the need for taking responsibility for what they share online.
If you do this much, you can be sure that your child will have a wonderfully rich and satisfying experience online, successfully avoiding the pitfalls on the way.