Getting online and seeing your child’s Facebook post that has about 10 words that should have NEVER been typed is probably right up there with catching them in the act of playing hooky! The blood gets to bowling, the veins possibly going into overdrive, and you may pass out right there at the keyboard as all you can see is red.
Rest assured, even adults like myself would feel for you if placed in this situation. So that’s why I want to make sure you have some words of wisdom (and warning) to pass along to your child before technology becomes a free-for-all of rudeness that you’ve never taught them. Blogger Jeanne Sager focuses on the main tech formats a good eye needs to keep watch on:
- Email: Kids should know how to craft a proper email just as they would a formal letter, but they also need to know how to BCC (blind carbon copy) to protect email addresses from being shared and when to simply CC (carbon copy) multiple addresses.
- Passwords: The first rule of opening any accounts online? Don’t share your passwords! Not even with your best friend. And don’t share your friends’ passwords either!
- Privacy Settings: These vary depending on the social media platform, but it comes back to your rules. Is it OK for your teen to friend your best friend on Facebook? Follow your sister on Instagram? Google Plus? Set rules for every site and explain why the rules exist. Kids need to understand that not everyone out there needs to see everything about their lives and vice-versa.
- Photos: This is another issue that varies from account to account, but really comes down to your rules. Let your kids know what is acceptable for sharing online and how much should be public vs. private. Not only do you not want photos of your half-naked teen out there, the rest of us don’t want to SEE those photos. Not to mention, posting photos of other people online is not always acceptable. Teach your kids to ask their friends if THEIR parents are OK with their photos showing up online and to be respectful if someone wants to “untag” themselves.
- Public Posts: Once you’ve gotten past what should be locked up, it’s time to discuss what they put out for others to see. You can (and should) establish firm rules on language and particular kinds of information (such as the family’s vacation schedule) that should be kept offline, even on semi-private accounts. Your neighbor down the block doesn’t need to read posts about what a “b-word” the principal is.