In this day, the Internet for Millennials, and Generation Z kids has become today's modern playground. But like any place we visit, there are ground rules that should be established before moving forward.
Kids will behave as they should online as long as they know what is expected of them. And for our children to embrace the technology they are growing up with, they need to understand the power it wields and how to use it appropriately.
And when making a virtual impression on the world, children must understand their words whether they are spoken verbally or written have power. A power that goes beyond their peer group. And as parents, we need to guide them through the various platforms in a way that will allow them express themselves without communication without bringing then or anyone else harm.
- Be honest. The #1 rule of online etiquette is simple; if you can make the comment to a person's face then do not post it online.
- Only visit secure sites. There are dangers lurking on the Internet, and if kids aren't careful, they can inadvertently click on a questionable site and things can do downhill from there. Teach kids how now to click on sites without consulting the parent, and more importantly, warn them against opening links from people they do not know.
- Be fair. The golden rule of online communication is to treat people as you would like to be treated. Teaching children there is no room for bullying or harassing online or off sends a clear message that ties into the first rule.
- Grammar matters. Words, spoken or written should be conveyed in a clear and concise manner no matter the age. I feel if kids are unable to communicate effectively, then they may be too young to be taking part in forums and other social platforms without an adult.
- Always double check. Teach children their actions have consequences and to always double check their writing before posting because comments made during a moment of anger can come back to bite them.
- Don't violate anyone's trust. It is easy to post images or comments made by others in good fun. But not everyone will see it that way. Have your kids ask themselves a couple of crucial questions before posting. Will this image or comment embarrass anyone? Am I violating anyone's privacy? If the question is yes, to one or both of these questions, then it should not be posted.
- Keep drama offline. Encourage your kids not to take part in any toxic drama online or offline. No good comes of it.
It is important to note, teaching our children the proper way to interact and behave online is an ongoing process. And these seven rules, are just a starting point. As parents, it is our duty to speak to and engage with our children regularly keep the lines of communication open especially when dealing with online behavior.