Teach Your Kids: What You Post, Tweet, and Pin are Set in Virtual Stone
By Haley Hawks
Coming from the generation that was on the cusp of the internet sensation I had very little opportunity to make friends online. This is not the case with today’s children. For them, connections in the virtual world are second nature.
This is a wonderful situation. Did I say wonderful? Yes! Many parents might think that the internet is scary and hurtful. It can be, but “our online identity is merging with our offline identity. Therefore the idea is to help kids create a better world through technology,” (Alexander, 2017.) We talk often about keeping our kids safe on the internet, and we need do to teach them how to protect themselves. But just as important is teaching our children how to have good manners online.
We can teach our kids to think of the internet as a big slab of stone. Whatever we post, comment, tweet, etc., becomes carved onto that stone…forever!
The things we post online don’t disappear. They are as real and permanent as writing on stone.
So teach your children this simple rule of thumb: if they wouldn’t write it, sign it and stand by it, they shouldn’t say it–even if you are saying it virtually.
Here are 3 rules to teach children regarding appropriate online behavior:
- Keep “being you,” especially online
It’s tempting to be extreme or unreal online. But being the real you is the most likeable you. “Being genuine and honest is essential to being likeable. No one likes a fake. People gravitate toward those who are genuine because they know they can trust them,” (Bradberry, 2015). Even online this is a rule to live by. Let us show our children how to be authentic online by posting thoughts and feelings without embellishment.
- Keep it appropriate
What you post doesn’t have an expiration date. It can be part of the internet world forever. Make sure that whatever is being put out for others to see, is what you would want to see in twenty years. Don’t post things that are negative about yourself, but especially don’t post negatively about others.
- Keep it positive
You’ve heard that positivity makes life better right? Well it does! “Positive thoughts can actually create real value in your life and help you build skills that last much longer than a smile,” (Clear, 2013). So why not spread this joy to other people with your posts? Not only will it seem like the “real you,” but it will also cause others to be influenced positively!
Need some help teaching your child the in’s and out’s of technology today? Learn 10 Ways Kids Can Use Technology For Good. Also check out our read-aloud children’s book, Noah’s New Phone, which teaches kids how to fill their “social” side in a healthy way!
Haley Hawks has a Bachelors of Science in Marriage and Family Studies from Brigham Young University-Idaho. . She is passionate about learning, especially when it comes to relationships and family life. She hopes to one day be able to educate on a world-wide setting in regards to promoting goodness in the family, and destroying ideals that hurt society.
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Alexander , D., & Silverman, R. (2017, August). Re: How To Talk To Kids About Sex Featuring Dina Alexander [Web log comment]. Retrieved August 08, 2017, from http://drrobynsilverman.com/2017/08/01/how-to-talk-to-kids-about-sex-featuring-dina-alexander/?utm_content=buffer4b316&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
Bradberry, T. (2015, February 26). 13 Habits of Exceptionally Likeable People. Retrieved September 10, 2017, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/travisbradberry/2015/01/27/13-habits-of-exceptionally-likeable-people/#307dc8691b14
Clear, J. (2013, July 10). The Science of Positive Thinking: How Positive Thoughts Build Your Skills, Boost Your Health, and Improve Your Work. Retrieved September 10, 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-clear/positive-thinking_b_3512202.html