Kids… if you let them, their adorable faces would be permanently buried in a video game or their tiny little hands would be endlessly gripping a Smartphone. Between iphones, ipads, social media apps, and video games, you don’t want to be the parent that lets your child mis-use technology. Bringing up a child with excellent manners is an important part of raising a successful adult. Whether you decide to integrate technology into their lives at the age of 2 or 12, lets kick off this privilege on the right foot and go over technological etiquette for kids.
Model Citizen: First things first. Kids tend to learn all their habits from well – us. Make sure you’re living by example and setting the same expectations for yourself that you set for your own kids. Which means being cognisant of your own behavior… No texting while driving, don’t multitask on your phone while trying to have a conversation with your children or husband and enforce a no phones during family meals.
School Spirit: Support your child’s school rule of absolutely no cell phones. Teach your child that cell phones at school are strictly for emergencies only and should always be left in their backpack. Phone calls, texting and all social media should never be brought into the classroom.
Phone: The golden rule: “The people you’re physically with take precedence over anyone who might be phoning you.” Explain to your child that if they have to take an important quick call while in public (for instance if it’s you… their mother) they should speak quietly and watch their language as they don’t want the general public to over hear their conversation. You can also help them to delegate their own noise level with common sense. For longer calls… it’s always best to step away for a brief moment.
While dinning or in a meeting their phone should always stay put away, not to disrupt any conversations. Also, phones should remain off or on silent mode during school hours, while doing homework and during films or performances.
Texting: Texting and teens go together like peanut butter and jelly. However, four places they should never be caught texting: while driving, during class, at the table and during a conversation. Your child should also be weary of other situations where texting can take away their full attention. For example, walking and texting can cause minor accidents.
“Think before you send pictures, texts, email and videos as they can all be posted, copied, forwarded, downloaded and reconfigured with Photoshop. If you think something might embarrass someone, invade their privacy or stir up drama, do not send it out.”
Children should also be very conscious of how powerful words can be over text message and how they can easily fuel misunderstandings. So sending bad news or responding hastily when angry or upset is never a good idea. Your child should also understand how spreading gossip or forwarding private messages could fall under cyber bullying.
Social Networking: Before your tween downloads or purchases any social media apps, they should always get your approval first. Teach your child to only use social media in a positive way and to treat others the same way they would want to be treated. Which means not posting photos without permission and being cautious of photos and comments that they do post. It is important for your child to understand that they will be a functioning member of society one day and shouldn’t post things that might come back to haunt them down the road.
Protect your child’s online safety; the recommended age for children to enter the world of social media is 13. Their accounts should be set to private and they should never accept friend requests from or speak to strangers.
Cyberbullying: This topic deserves a big conversation with your child. Take the time to explain to your child what cyberbullying is and how it will not be tolerated. Cyberbullying constitutes harassing, embarrassing and or threatening another individual online or through social media.
If your child is a victim of cyberbullying, they should know not to respond to a cyberbully, but document all messages. Especially if they contain threats or affect your child’s safety and to come to you right away.
Remember: Remind your child that their cell phone is a privilege, not a right. If imposed rules are broken, then their phone can easily be taken away.