Our children watch us online on a daily basis. Whether we are sending an email, posting a picture on Instagram, participating in a zoom meeting or doing many other things online, they are watching us. Just like anything else when it comes to parenting, our children learn from us. It is our role as parents to know what to teach children about being online.
What to teach children about being online
It’s Your Job!
While it may seem easier to pass the buck to someone else, it is your job to teach your child about being responsible. The same way to teach them to be responsible when they leave the house, the same goes for online. The first step is accepting that this falls under your domain and you must explicitly teach your kids about! Will they cover it at school? Of course they will. But the same way your kids learn about nutritious eating, it all starts at home. Don’t expect someone else to teach them what they need to do about this.
While jumping online looks like so much fun, we all know that they are many drawbacks. We have all been there…forwarding the wrong email to someone or saying something no one was meant to heard when you weren’t on mute is no fun, so as adults, we know that the internet has its down sides. Do you child a favour and make sure to explain the downfalls of it all. Remind them to slow down and to pay close attention to what they are sending to who. This would also be a good time to explain that nothing is safe. What is meant for one persons eyes can be shared with the click of a button, especially in a group of teenagers.
Nothing is gone for good
Many of our children may believe that if they delete a message, a picture or a text, that it is gone for good. Unfortunately, that is not the case! It is our job to educate our children that once they put something out there, it’a out there. This mean that it only takes a second for something to be shared or for someone to take a screenshot of it. It could then be posted on other social media channels and all of a sudden, your children have lost control of their content, much of which can come back and bite them where it hurts.
If you don’t have anything nice to say…
The internet is not secure. We all know this. Anyone can read anything. We must remind our children that if you don’t have anything nice to say…don’t say anything on the internet, or better yet, at all. Cyberbullying is a HUGE issue and is affecting so many children on a daily basis. Ensure that your children understand that contributing to the problem in a non-negotiable.
Don’t forget your manners
As your kids spend more time online, they will be emailing teachers and applying for jobs online faster than you can blink. It’s easy to quickly send an email without proofreading it, or considering the tone. Talk to your children about showing respect online while speaking to others and to ensure that they are always using their manners. Don’t forget to remind them to proofread their emails as well for spelling and for tone.
Most of the things you already teach your children, apply to online etiquette as well!