Explainers

5 Steps to Raising a Responsible Digital Citizen

September 6th, 2018

Parents have always modeled behavior for their children, passing on values and responsible behaviors. Today’s parents, however, also have to teach their children how to behave online — in a technological world that’s rapidly changing. At Privacy Parent, we’ve rounded up the basics on how to teach your child to be a responsible digital citizen — whether through email, messaging, social media, or other technology. 

  1. Call out bad behavior online and demonstrate good behavior when you can. Just as you would show your child right from wrong when encountering playground bullies, warn your child that being cruel online is something you frown upon. 
  2. While it’s important to talk about cyber bullying, good digital citizenship goes beyond avoiding bullying to covering the basics of the golden rule: Treat others as you want to be treated. Show your child how to be kind to others online, for instance by writing Happy Birthday messages to loved ones via text or sharing a family photo with a positive caption on social media. As you model the ways of using technology to promote love and kindness, your child will learn from you how to treat others online.
  3. Use parental controls or kid-safe search engines, so you can monitor the websites their child visits. Establish boundaries with your child around what websites they can visit and use and what information they can share online. Children often find out the hard way that information posted online can be used against them.
  4. As your child gets older, explain laws around online behavior, including setting consequences for incidents of online harassment.
  5. If your child sends or receives nude images of themselves to friends, they could be charged under child pornography laws and forced to register as a sex offender. Over one-quarter of teens have received a sext in 2018, and one in eight teens has forwarded a sext without the consent of the person who sent the original image. These are real life consequences that require parents to educate their children before it’s too late.

It is never too early to pass along good online behaviors to your child, and there are many benefits to doing so. Privacy Parent will explore these issues in more depth through future blog posts. Search our archives for more strategies on keeping your kids safe online.

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