Most parents teach their children their ‘pleases and ‘thank-yous in ‘real’ life, but with so many children conducting a large part of their lives online, what about their digital values and manners? Children of today need to learn to think critically about what they post online, and how it may affect others.
The best way to teach your kids about online manners is the same way that you would ‘real’ manners – in practice. Use the internet with your children, run through different scenarios and discuss the most appropriate approach and behaviour in each situation.
To get you started, here are some important lessons for your children to learn as they become cyber smart and grow into good digital citizens.
- Treat others as you would have them treat you
An old lesson, but an important one – both online and offline. If your child is ever in doubt about how they should handle a particular online situation, have them reflect on this rule to make the right course of action clear.
- Don’t hide behind your keyboard
Sometimes it’s easier to be confrontational or mean when you’re not face-to-face with somebody. Teach your children to never say anything online that they wouldn’t say in front of the person.
- Be careful with the send button
Before hitting the ‘send’ button, always check grammar, typos, spelling, tone – and content, of course. All these aspects come together to give you your digital reputation. And once it’s out there, it’s not always easy to erase.
- Accept that you will never agree with everyone online
Remember Point 2? Well, a lot of people do tend to hide behind the keyboard and voice their opinions loudly online. Remember that there is a polite way of doing this, without abusing or attacking the opinions of others.
- When in doubt, don’t
If you’re ever unsure about posting something online, rather don’t, especially if it could cause you or anyone else harm or embarrassment.
The key to teaching your children to become good digital citizens is to get them to think carefully and not to act impulsively online. This simple lesson ill set them up for success, both in the online world and in ‘real life’.