As Social Media quickly becomes the preferred form of communication it is vital that as a parent you take the initiative to learn how to interact in this medium. Something to remember is that even if your kids don’t own a computer, they still have plenty of ways to be online. Ipods, cell phones, X-Box and even the Wii is compatible to the internet, so getting online is far easier than ever before. (Kids can access WIFi anywhere, even if you don’t have it in your own house.) So before your children sign up on their own, I encourage you to do it first so that you can learn more about the world that they are playing in.
It is perfectly ok to set up rules and boundaries for your children in the real world , and just as necessary as to do it online as well. Inside our house, we have a “no Locked door” environment, which means that my children’s rooms are their own space… however I could come in at any moment, the same policy exists online. I know all of my children’s passwords, they are not allowed to change them, however, if they feel that there is a need to do so, they lose the privilege of having online access and all of the toys that provide that access. This arrangement helps my children to “police “ their own accounts, not only with what they post themselves, but also what their friends put on their walls as well.
Knowing that their Mother, Father and Grandmother are also their “online” friends helps them to monitor what they are posting. It is easy to know what to post and what not to post if they would not be proud to sit beside their Mom and watch a video together or share a note, then it should not be posted… if however your kids do not have that sort of moral compass, I will make it easier to know what is right for posting and what is not acceptable. Here is the tip: If your children would be kicked out of school for turning the posts into a T-Shirt and wearing it to school, then it should not be shared online either.
The internet is the world’s biggest elephant… it NEVER forgets. So keep in mind that years from now, future employers will be “Goggling” your child’s name to find out what sort of person they are… it is in your best interest to teach your children the importance of maintaining an online reputation that they will be proud to share as their lifelong legacy.
Social Media is this generation’s journal… however, instead of worrying that your little brother will read it, it is posted for the world to see. This content can and will be used against you… or if it is of high value, it can be used to elevate you to places that allow your children to walk through doors that were never open before.
Remember how our music never made sense to our parents? Well, instead of saying “turn it off,” it is up to us to learn to interact online. Facebook/ Twitter/ YouTube etc. will take you by the hand and walk you through the process step by step, simply; it is up to you to turn on your computer first. The best way to learn is to have your kids teach you, it is a great bonding time and provides the perfect opportunity to talk to your kids about online safety and responsibility!