Do you remember when you were first allowed to go to the playground without adult supervision? You would be given some rules to follow – Be kind to others. No fighting. Do not talk to strangers. Come back by dinner. As you headed down to play, you might have been aware that your parents had been continually looking out for you from the window.
Today, the Internet is akin to the new playground for teenagers, and it has become a lot more difficult for you to protect your children from afar as your parents once did. Hence, it is important to educate your child on the proper usage of the Internet so as to ensure they do not become troublemakers or victims of online abuse. You will be surprised at how the same set of playground rules you were given as a kid can be applied to the online world:
Online or offline, be kind
When we teach our children to be kind to others, we also have to teach them to apply the same kindness online – having online anonymity does not mean that they can be mean or harsh with their words.
At the same time, they should be taught to look out for people who are being mean online. Should they happen to meet such people, let them know that they should not take to heart what has been said to them, but neither should they respond with mean words. Instead, teach them to ignore such people, who will stop these actions once they realise that their words have no effect on your children.
Think twice before you post anything
As it becomes more common for people to share their thoughts online, teach your children to take responsibility for what they post on online platforms. Legal actions can be taken against any defamation made online. Thus, they should understand that inappropriate comments posted online may result in dire consequences in time to come.
Do not leak personal information
Educate your teenagers on the dangers of giving out their personal information to strangers online, as spilling personal details online can be as dangerous as letting a stranger into the house. It may seem harmless, but you do not know what they may take from you, or do to you.
While it is fine to give teenagers the freedom to surf the Internet, it is our responsibility to exercise house rules with them so as to encourage responsible usage. The Internet, like the playground, can be a fun public space where learning and bonding can take place when used appropriately.
3 key takeaways
1.The Internet is the new playground for teenagers. While it can be fun, teach your child to use it responsibly.
2.Teenagers may not know that under the cloak of online anonymity, they still have to be responsible for their actions.
3. It is important to educate your teenager that divulging personal information online can be dangerous.