It’s important to teach your kids the proper ways of navigating technology. As parents, it’s a top priority to guide your children through the safety hazards that are only a few taps away. A topic to also include in the discussion is the necessity of good online manners. Every post, message, and Instagram photo tells the world a story.
Here are some simple social media etiquette tips to pass along to your kids:
Communication is a must. Get your parents approval before downloading any social media apps. Provide account name(s) so that they have the ability to check your online activity. Set the standard for your friends to follow. You may know someone who has a secret account that their parents don’t know about – don’t rely on their misguided example – be the leader!
Ask permission from your friends before you post photos or news. If you want to post a funny picture of your friend, check with her first. She may not think it’s as humorous. If someone asks you to remove an unflattering picture from your profile, honor their request. You would want someone to do the same for you.
Remember you are sharing with the world. This is true for any photos, videos or words you post on a social media platform as well as information you send in a text or email. Even when you think you are sending a confidential message to one friend, once you hit the button, you no longer have control over your words or images. The picture or video can then be re-posted.
Use your social media platform in a positive way. As you develop your hobbies and interests, your online presence is a great place to share your experiences. Decide how you can make the most of your voice and encourage your circle of friends. You will notice that others will admire what you are doing and feel inspired to do something similar.
Don’t lose the personal touch. If you have something personal to say, or someone’s feelings have been bruised, get off your technology and put in a telephone call or face-to-face meeting.
If you are experiencing a situation that is uncomfortable or downright mean, alert your parents immediately so they can decide how to handle it. You can also talk to a teacher or school counselor for additional support.
Follow the rules. There are age requirements for many social media apps and websites. Often, it’s 13 years old. Do your homework and respect the age restriction guidelines. Here’s a link for you to review.
Most importantly, treat others as you want to be treated. It’s easy to get caught up, and we often forget that our tone of voice and facial expressions can’t be “heard” in a quickly worded post. Before sending, take a step back and look at how your message is coming across to others. You may be surprised that your funny comment does not translate the way you expected. The bottom line on digital behavior is simple: think before you post.
For more of my technology etiquette tips, you may also find Social Media Etiquette for College Students and Young Professionals (via The Huffington Post) helpful.