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Our Children Are Growing Up In Public - Help Them

Our kids are growing up in public.  When we were growing up, a permanent record was something your school kept. Now, our kids create lasting records of their lives whenever they post something online. In a world where anything can be copied, pasted, altered and distributed in the blink of an eye to a vast invisible audience, kids must understand that they hold the key to what kind of reputation they create for themselves. Help kids help themselves


As parents, it's up to us to help our kids understand the consequences of their actions and prepare them for the fact that the user name "FatGreenWizard" -- which might have been cute in 5th grade -- won't be so adorable at that first job interview. We have to help them think long term about posting those pictures that will inevitably come back to bite them on areas of the body that were all too likely on display in the offending snapshots. Here are a few rules of the road that will help our kids as they grow up in public:


Rules of the Road for Kids


1. Guard your privacy. What people know about you is up to you.

2. Protect your reputation. Self-reflect before you self-reveal. What’s funny or edgy today could cost you tomorrow.

3. Nothing is private online. Anything you say or do can be copied, pasted, and sent to gazillions of people without your      

4. Assume everyone is watching. There’s a huge, vast audience out there. If someone is your friend’s friend, they can see

5. Apply the Golden Rule. If you don’t want it done to you, don’t do it to someone else.

6. Choose wisely. Not all content is appropriate. You know what we mean.

7. Don't hide. Using anonymity to cloak your actions doesn’t turn you into a trustworthy, responsible human being.

8. Think about what you see. Just because it’s online doesn’t make it true.

9. Be smart, be safe. Not everyone is who they say they are. But you know that.


What parents can do

1.  Model good behaviour.  If we are on our phones while we are at the dinner table, whey would our children listen to us
     when we tell them to turn their phones off.

2.  P ay attention – We have to know where our children are going on line and what they are doing there.

3.  I mpart our values – cheating, lying, being cruel are all non-starters.  Right and wrong all extend to mobile life.

4.  Establish Limits – phone time, video download time, destinations.  There is a right time and place for everything.

5.  Encourage balance – encourage children to get involved in other activities.

6.  Using the internet is a privilege, make sure that the children earn this privilege.

7.  Explain what is at stake – Let children know that what they do today, can be abused by someone tomorrow.

8.  Find ways to say “Yes” – That means that we have to do some homework and know the sites that they visit, the dongs
     they down load, etc and find ways to use technology that allow us to say “yes” more often than “No”.

9.  It is not rocket science –learn to text, send a mobile photo, set up a face book page, upload a video or let your children      
      show you.   It is impossible to guide something that you do not understand  and just imagine all the anxiety that you can
      avoid, if you knew  how things work.

10. Lighten up, embrace their world and enjoy the possibilities together -  None of us want digital divide in the relationships
      with our children.  It is up to us to join the fun and help them seize the potential.

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