How teens rule their cyber world: House rules to live by

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Teens from Divine Savior Church in Orangevale, CA, met to discuss how to rule their cyber world.

Last Sunday evening, over 70 teens assembled at Divine Savior Church to discuss “how to rule their world in cyber space”.

This Banana Moments’ cyber citizenship workshop provided an overview of the importance working with parents at home and cyber-safe house rules to establish authentic boundaries that truly benefitted their lives.

Authentic boundaries serve to protect the liberty of the individual and at the same time hold the individual accountable to the greater good (family, friends, community).

These teens were encouraged to consider that freedom is not without limits, and that if the Internet has no boundaries, and is “free” so others can do and say what they want, when they want, what is preventing bad actors from infringing on your personal security.

The teens were also encouraged to ask themselves, “what purpose does this serve?” before they hit send or post anything – especially anything negative or sexually explicit. “Is this making my life and the lives of others better? Is it consistent with my core values and my faith?”

So how can you be in charge of your cyber world if there are no boundaries?

The answer is in collaborating with parents and developing and embracing cyber safe house rules.

Starting at home, house rules can prepare youth to be secure in how we use mobile phones and the Internet and to avoid the risk traps of cyberbullying, sexting, pedophile encounters, malware, and addiction.

These astute teens offered examples of rules or limits that make their lives better, among them:

  • No texting during school
  • If grades suffer, technology is withheld.
  • Parents should know your contact list and determine what websites are age appropriate.
  • No Facebook unless a parent is also a “friend”.
  • Use the mobile phone to keep your parents informed about where you are and who you are with.
  • No foul language or negative comments (think before you text).
  • No inappropriate photos or videos.’
  • Don’t “friend” people on Facebook you haven’t met in real life.
  • No spreading rumors or bullying on line or through text.
    If you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing.
  • Treat people the way you want to be treated.
  • Don’t do anything without your parent’s permission.
  • Be kind or be blocked

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About Joanna Jullien

Joanna Jullien

Joanna ( and her husband have raised two sons in Roseville, CA. She has a degree from U.C. Berkeley in Social Anthropology (corporate culture). Her honors thesis was awarded the Kroeber Prize and funding from National Science Foundation grant. Joanna writes to help parents with the modern-day leadership challenges of raising children. She is a contributing writer for The Granite Bay View, the Press Tribune, the Sacramento Examiner, and editor of Banana Moments.