As a child my Dad told me two things that ring especially true for cyber-powered living. The first thing he stressed to me is that something is only true if you believe it to be so in your own mind. The second thing is that a life well lived requires you to apply yourself.
It wasn’t until much later in life that I came to appreciate the profound clarity of these two thoughts; they simply describe what it means to express your faith. What you believe matters and more importantly, your beliefs and values mean nothing if they are not expressed through your actions.
This requires a purpose-driven mindset; it surmises integrity. So in this regard, as users of cyber tools, the application of our identity is critical.
Our children are very eager to become “somebody” on-line, to join the social networks of their peers. And the most important thing they need to understand about being a responsible user who is secure and in command of their on-line world is their identity as a child of God, and a member of your family.
In this sense, our children must learn how to apply themselves in the network.
Do not change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what to perfect. Romans 12:2
How to apply yourself in the social network
For many reasons, not just because of predators, whoever has the privilege to use texting and social media applications must be expected to make good decisions about what information to share, with whom to connect, and when and where to use it. And the foundation of this cyber-secure citizenship depends upon the basis of our individual identity.
Your child’s identity is built on the foundation of your beliefs and values. Living in free society, the first premise of our identity is as individuals with God-given liberty for independent thought. We are granted intelligent life and free will, which must be used responsibility on and off line.
The first decade your child’s identity must be rooted in the elements of the character of being a good citizen; and the second decade your child will be expressing greater independence with regard to their opinion and personality.
The primary elements of identity include:
- Our character that makes us trustworthy and relatable.
- Demonstrates respect for self and others
- Key family relationship roles – identify us as trusted, qualified for inner circle
The secondary elements of identity include:
So the act of applying yourself in the social network is staying within the character of a liberated individual, which is accomplished by setting limits. These limits are expressed as house rules for cyber safety.
For more about the criteria for cyber-secure house rules go to: A Parent’s Guide to Cyber Citizenship
For more about communicating genuine authority to be liberated in the social network check out: The Authority In Me
Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She 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, Tuesdays. Her next book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media will be released in the fall 2013.