From cyberbullying to sharing too much information. the old adage “loose lips sink ships” couldn’t be more true when it comes to children posting on social media. In a recent article featuring a reputation management company, a Facebook post by a teenager that caused a breach of a legal settlement costing her parents over $100,000 is featured as a cyber concern.
The harsh reality that cyber communications are not private is a challenging concept to get across. We don’t see the open, boundary-less nature of the network communications; we don’t normally calculate the myriad of circumstances that conspire to share information intended only to a few.
And so children especially (with limited worldly experience) do not realize how risky communication can be unless they are trained.
Prepare your child to be a cyber-wise communicator
Engage in conversation about cyber-safe house rules that apply to everyone in the home. Some examples include:
- Since private means keeping your personal stuff from “the world”, parents monitor all cyber communications. The aim is to encourage kids to think about what they are doing. If you are not sure if something is safe to post, then don’t.”
- Family motto: “inspect what you expect.” Tell your children that you expect that for the most part they are making good decisions, and that is what you will expect to find in their texts and social media.
- Avoid gossip. If it is not your story to tell, then don’t talk about what is happening with other people’s personal stuff, especially regarding disputes and conflicts.
Listen/watch last week’s cyber safety tip:
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.
- Cyber safety for kids and families on TheFish103.9FM (videos)
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- Email: Jullien@surewest.net