Randi Zuckerberg Uncomplicates Online Safety for Kids

Written on November 7, 2013 at 9:35 am , by

Written by Randi Zuckerberg

Photo by Delbarr Moradi

No matter where in the world I travel to, the first question I’m always asked after giving a speech or chatting with new friends is some variant of “How much screen time do you let your son have?”

Parents everywhere are struggling to raise children in a connected world. It makes sense—we’re raising the first generation of digital natives, and we’re the first generation of parents to have to worry about these issues. Just as parents for decades have been talking to their kids about stranger danger, looking both ways before crossing the street or not eating too much candy, online safety is now another must-have conversation. Here are my main rules and tips to help guide your child toward a safe, smart and healthy digital life.

Rules and Tips to Remember

1. Your body is your business only. Think before you post revealing pictures.

2. Don’t bully or go along with other people who are bullying.

3. Only add “friends” online if you also know them in real life.

4. Always treat others with respect, the way you would want to be treated.

5. If you’re going to put something in writing, make sure you would be comfortable if it was reprinted in a newspaper.

6. Only say something online if you would also say it to that person’s face in real life.

7. Be careful about personal information about yourself or your family. Only share things with people you trust.

8. Be vigilant against predators, lurkers and bullies.

9. Above all, guard yourself and your dignity, and stay safe.

Even if you aren’t very familiar with the latest technology, make it a priority to ask your child what they’re doing online. Take time once a month or so to sit down and have them walk you through their favorite sites. Ask questions. Friend or follow them on social platforms. Ask other parents what sites their children use. And be sure that you follow these digital rules too: Having an online role model can go a long way toward influencing a child’s behavior. In an age where parents are on social media posting their children’s every milestone, keep in mind that this content can live forever online. That naked baby picture, which could be cute today, may haunt your child down the line.

 

Randi Zuckerberg is the CEO and founder of Zuckerberg Media, a media and production company, and editor-in-chief of Dot Complicated, a modern lifestyle online community. 

 

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