Top Ten Ways Parents Can Teach Digital Citizenship
1. Model good behavior. If we are browsing Facebook on our phones at dinner, why would our kids listen to us when we tell them to turn theirs off?
2. Pay attention. We have to know where our kids are going online -- and what they’re doing there. Take note of the sites they visit online.
3. Establish limits. Phone time, online time, etc. There is a right time and place for everything, and we do not want our kids to lack social skills because they are always on a device in social situations.
4. Teach kids the skills they need to use technology wisely and well. Since we cannot cover their eyes, or shadow them everywhere, we need to teach them how to see and how to behave responsibly.
5. Help them self-reflect before they self-reveal. This doesn't come naturally to kids -- and certainly not in a world where anyone can be a rock star on YouTube.
6. Don't be afraid. Parents can’t afford to be afraid of technology. Our kids adopt new technology faster than we do.That means they’re often way out in front of us. This fact upsets the parent/child relationship, so we have to get in the game. Have your kids show you how to do something if you don't already know.
7. Share wisdom. Kids don’t understand the implications of their actions, but we do. We have to remember to extend our basic parenting wisdom to the digital world. We teach kids to use their words, play nicely with others, respect their teachers – now we have to extend that to a vast, invisible world.
8. Pass along your values. One of the most important jobs of parenting is instilling in our kids the values we cherish. As parents, we have to be able to translate our values into the digital world and help kids understand the implications of their actions. I was just sharing a personal experience with a friend a few days ago. I never dreamed I would be teaching my children texting ettiquette… but guess what? It was the topic of conversation at dinner last week. Some things are not intuitive.
9. Seek balance. It’s hard to know how much freedom to give our kids. We want them to explore, enjoy, communicate, and create. We also want to be sure they are protected or they know how to protect themselves. If our kids are going to thrive with digital media, we must balance the negative with the positive. As our children grow, they need more independence and privacy. But parents have to be sure kids know how to be safe and responsible before letting them loose. Our kids need to see both the possibilities and the perils so they can act responsibly as digital citizens.
and last but not least...
10. Lighten up, embrace their world, and enjoy the possibilities together. It’s up to us to learn something new, join the fun, and help our kids make the most of this digital world in which we live.
Thanks to the good people at Common Sense Media for this list!