One of the most important things parents can do to keep their children cyber-safe is maintain a relationship defined by open communication, which requires a culture of transparency and respect for personal boundaries. And yet a lack of parenting social media etiquette discourages open communication, and can encourage your child to create secret, alternative media presence using alter egos and different apps. Below is a top ten list of parenting social media miss-steps which the Daily Mail recently published.
- Posting inappropriate photos of the child
- Posting inappropriate photos of themselves
- Using online slang incorrectly
- Posting inappropriate comments on their wall
- Comment on the child’s status
- Chatting with the child’s friends
- Commenting on the child’s friends’ photos
- Commenting on the child’s photos
- Tagging the child in posts
- Liking posts on the child’s wall
Tips to be a welcome presence on-line
- Operate in the lurk only mode. Do not comment on your child’s or their friends’ status. (Remember you are the supporting cast in your child’s life, not one of the main characters). This also means no tagging, and posting photos of them without permission (aside from family event photos).
- Off line acknowledging your child doing things well, like redirecting conversations away from gossip.
- Do not engage with the friends in your child’s network by liking their posts or commenting on status.
- Make sure you give your child personal attention for matters big and small. In the network culture, attention is the scarcity of our time. When you do not set limits for your own use of devices, the signal it sends to the child is that you are not that important. Do not allow yourself to be distracted by the device. Here are some tips for attention management in a cyber-powered world.
For more about family-safe strategies for texting and media, check out this book: A Google World in the Garden of Eden.
Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She is a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM. Her new book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media is now available for PC and all eReader formats including Kindle, Nook, iPad.