From Boston.com January 24, 2011
In this age of technology, our means of communication have become enormous. Email, text, and social networking sites can be wonderful ways to connect with friends and business associates, however, as with all great things, they must be used properly.
Recently Facebook welcomed their 200 millionth active user. Sureâ€¦ your kids may enjoy posting pics of their day at the beach, but would you want them displayed on screen at Madison Square Garden to be viewed by 20,000 fans?
With younger generations hopping on the digital bandwagon early and in record numbers, sexting, cyberbullying, and “Being Mean Behind The Screen” have become a growing issue.
“Children need to learn that posting hurtful things on Facebook, or invading someone’s privacy online to purposefully do damage can be more than just dangerous â€“ it can be fatal,” said GenerationTextOnline.com and ItsMyLocker.com founder Jill Brown. “There are such simple steps we can take to protect our children from online predators or even their peers that donâ€™t have the best intentions. Unfortunately, though, most people are unaware that they can safeguard their information with a click of a button and/or some common sense.”
Tips for parents of the on-line generation on cyberbullying:
- Know what your kids are doing on-line and who they are talking to.
- Social network and text with your kids. Communicate with them in the medium through they like to communicate.
- When you see something your child has done on-line, don’t punish or take away their on-line/texting privileges. Instead, make it a teachable moment.
- Don’t ban your children from social networking. If you do, they will find a way to do it behind your back.
- When you see things in the news about cyberbulllying, sexting, and suicide. Talk to your kids about it. Walk them through the consequences of particular on-line actions.
- Know your child’s passwords and check your child’s on-line activity.
- Check your child’s text messages and pictures on their phones. If you don’t know what they are doing or seeing, you can’t parent them.
- Don’t assume your children need privacy; you must protect your child by knowing and looking at what they are being exposed to.
- Talk to your children about the devastating effects cyberbullying has on people. Talk with them on how they could be a bystander that protects others.
- Talk to your children about the fact that anything they put on-line or in a text message could be forwarded. Teach them to think about how they would feel if the message was seen by a college admissions counselor or their boss at their job.