As soon as your kids begin to go online, it’s important to explain your expectations of their behavior. By acting responsibly and respectfully, they will enjoy their time online and get the best of the internet while mostly avoiding things such as cyberbullying and inappropriate content. Here are some basics to share with your child:
— Communicate appropriately. Use the right language for your audience. You might write or speak to a teacher differently from a friend. And never use all caps!
— Keep private things private. Don’t share personal information, including passwords, your home address, inappropriate images, and gossip.
— Respect others. Be courteous. Disagree politely.
— Don’t lie, steal, or cheat. Don’t try to deceive others. Remember to give credit where credit is due. And, although it’s easy to copy others’ work, download things without permission, or use game cheat codes, don’t do it.
— Be an “upstander.” If someone you know is being targeted by a bully, stand up for that person. You would want him or her to do the same for you.
— Report misbehavior. The Internet is a giant community, and you can help it be a nice place.
— Follow your family’s rules. If your parent tells you to avoid certain websites or to stop texting after a certain time, listen. The more you act responsibly, the more privileges you’ll get.
— Think before you post, text, or share. Consider how you and others might feel after you’ve posted something. It’s not always easy to take back what you’ve said online, and your online behavior can create a lasting footprint.