Now give me a second before you automatically answer with yes, of course they think! There are many things to think about when your child enters into a chat room when they are gaming, whether they are chatting with their friends or people they don’t know. While as parents, we can’t control everything that they do, especially when they are online, we can give them the tools to make good decisions and to T-H-I-N-K before they start chatting online.
Using the word THINK, you can break it down in a way that any child will understand. As parents, many of us are concerned that our children will be cyberbullied, but we also need to ensure that our children aren’t the ones sending hurtful messages to others. This acronym can be used for anything whether it be chatting, posting on social media or sharing any content anywhere online.
Let’s start at the top. First off, T is for truthful. Is what your child is saying or posting Truthful? Is it a true presentation of something that has happened or what they believe in. Are they stretching the truth, or being honest. We always tell our kids that honesty is the best policy, online is no different.
Does their comment help? Is it helpful information in the game they are playing? Is it helpful information in general? Chat don’t have to be negative. They are a great way for kids to collaborate while playing, so using the chat to help a friend is a great way to work together.
What if you could teach your child to inspire others? If your child was the one that was inspiring other to play well, play honestly, and play collaboratively, I would consider that a win! As your child games or begins posting on social media, encourage them to inspire others.
Another really important question is, is it nice? How does the saying go, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all? Whether they are talking to a family member at dinner, a friend at school or a gamer online, remind your child to ask themselves if what they are saying is nice. Another thing to consider is whether or not the comment is necessary. If it is not necessary, suggest they keep it to themselves.
Lastly, is it kind? No matter where you child is in the world, whether in the world of imagination and gaming or the real world, above all else, we want them to be kind. Especially when kids are gaming, posting online or sharing something on social media, it is essential that we remind them that what they do, say or post is a reflection of them. Remind your child to be KIND, always!