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10 Ways to Teaching Common Internet Sense to Teens

Posted May 06 2010 5:54pm

Understanding cybercitizenship is a challenge…teaching it is even more difficult! I always tell parents, teachers and adults the following ten tips when talking to teens about being safe and using common sense online.

1) Tell them you have trouble too

If you lecture them, or pretend this is just a problem for them, they are more likely to shut down.  If you commiserate with them, you can learn together.

2) Beyond Predators

Predators online is definitely a problem, but I think adults focus too much on strangers and not enough on being careful with the people you know.

3) Cyberbullying

Explain this idea to your kids.  Many of them are surprised to find out Cyberbullying can include sending a mean email.  Also be sure to tell them what to do if it happens.

4) Privacy has changed

Your idea of privacy and youth’s idea of privacy is totally different.  Youth need to know that whatever they put online, they need to be ok with that same thing being broadcasted to the neighborhood.

5) Teach them to love it

There are some great activities for techie kids out there, teach them how to get positive stuff from being online.

6) Are online friends real friends?

I always tell kids about the idea of Cotton Candy friends and spending online and offline time bonding with them.

7) Privacy settings are lace curtains

Even though kids might think their pictures or videos or comments are safe, they never know when a hacker, security brief or might misuse their info or pictures.

8) How to be a cybercitizen

Many of the same laws that apply to real life, apply to the Internet.  Make your own list, or check out mine, of the Holy Cybercitizenship Laws .

9) Be open-minded

You want your children to tell you what they are doing online.  You never know what to expect, so let them explain to you why they love and use the Internet and ask them to teach you!

10) It is your right to know

As a parent, it is your right to know your children’s usernames and passwords.  You have to help them manage their online reputation and kids need to be comfortable with this.

The online world is changing rapidly which most of all, means you must change with it.  Keep in touch with your kids from what they need from you and what rules are still appropriate.

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