You are not doing an adequate job of educating your kids and teens about online ethics, civility, dangers, and integrity. Let’s stop blaming Ask.fm,Facebook, Instagram, and cell phones for cyberbullying and sexting, and instead raise the bar on on what we as parents should be doing. One huge responsibility is to give kids perspective about the effects of technology on them and other people.
I want to share with you 2 ways I frame sexting and cyberbullying for kids I talk to at my retreats and camps. See if it doesn’t make it easier to explain why these activities can be harmful and inappropriate.
1) Cyberbullying: No matter what you put online on any sites, or on your phones or other devices, think about it this way. Write down everything you have posted in the past week onto a large poster board, decorate it, and then place it in every mall in your town so that every person walking into the mall can see and read it. Would you be okay doing that? Is what you have posted appropriate enough for anyone to read? Would any of your friends who read it be upset about what you wrote? The truth is that what you post online has the power to be read by anyone and everyone, so you had better be really careful about what you post.
2)Sexting: Let me put it this way girls: If you are tempted to send a guy a naked or revealing picture of yourself because you want him to like you or because you want to know if he thinks you are attractive and hot, think about this first. Would you be okay calling this guy and having him come over to your house, and then strip down in front of him to see if he thinks you are sexy? Or better yet, would you be okay if he called all of his friends to come over to help him make his decision? I would think not. And yet, that is exactly what you are doing if you’re sexting, plain and simple.
This is one of many areas where kids need adult wisdom, experience, and guidance. Just because your kids are whizzes on the computer doesn’t mean they have the maturity and impulse control to handle these technologies.
Parents: stop blaming and do your part!