School will be out shortly, holidays are here and there will be more screen time for everyone.
It’s not only about kids and teens, let’s remember parents will be just as busy with their digital devices. Whether they are texting, ordering online or finding a recipe on Pinterest – there is no denying, everyone young and not so young will have a keypad hooked up to some type of digital gadget.
What you need to remember, at all ages, is that just because it is the holidays, it is not an excuse to slack on your digital manners or neglect your online reputation.
These are things that never take a vacation and never have holiday breaks.
Similar to cyberbullying and Internet trolls, the dark-side of the Internet never rests.
With this in mind, your offline parenting communications need to be on high-alert.
What topics should be discussed often to increase your child’s social wisdom?
- Sharing and oversharing. Everyone can be guilty of oversharing, it is simply a matter of thinking before you post. I prefer to say – “pause” and hopefully that will help you to take a step back to think about what you are about to post.
- Online abuse, cyberbullying, stranger danger: Continually remind your children that you are always there for them if they are being bullied, stalked or harassed online. Statistics show that only 33% of victims tell an adult and some teens believe that cyberbullying is normal way of life. That is wrong!
- Ask your children about new apps and social media sites: Keep up with the trends that your kids are using. Be an interested parent and don’t be afraid to ask your child to mentor you on how to use social networking sites.
- Be a positive role model – offline and online (discussing our human errors): It’s a fact, your kids are watching you. Studies have proven that parents are the number one influence in a child’s life. If you are texting and driving, and make the excuse to your teenager that you are more experienced — it won’t fly. Texting and driving kills. Don’t do it. If you are gossiping online or offline, it is giving your child a license to do the same thing with their friends. Let’s take the time to talk to our kids about our lack of perfection and admit our mistakes. They are wrong – if you did them, hopefully it won’t be happening again. Offline parenting is the key to social wisdom both online and in real life.
Let’s take advantage of school break. Find extra time to talk to your kids about digital citizenship. Visit Cyberwise.org for great resources for parents and kids.
The Internet is only growing – if you haven’t decided to embrace it yet, you need to consider it soon! In reality, it is a huge educational tool that, like many things in life, needs to be handled with care and responsibly, since there can always be negative things lingering. No worries – there are plenty of experts, advocates and resources to help you manage your way through cyberspace. Get started! Talk to your kids! Learn from each other!
Cyberwise offers you a holiday gift pack for your entire family.