Is your early teen or “tween” (ages 8-14) a social media user? Perhaps your tween is a social media enthusiast or perhaps just getting into social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and blogs. Regardless of how frequently they use social media today, do you know: is your tween a good digital citizen?
The term “digital citizen” describes who we are online, particularly on our social networks. It is the key to how we take responsibility for our online actions and interactions. Does your tween have a Facebook profile? Take a good look at it and ask yourself, “what does this profile say about my child?” Look at it objectively and judge whether or not it gives a fair reflection of your tween’s work ethic and maturity. Does their Facebook activity mirror who they are offline or “IRL” (in real life)? Is it a good reflection?
As parents we have a responsibility to help our kids make the networks they use positive environments; to make the internet a better place. Social media isn’t going away. It is an integral part of many facets of society now. If we can’t prevent kids from eventually joining these online communities, then we must prepare them without holding them back. We know we must close the gap to ready young people for an ever more tech savvy society.
Of course we know we can monitor their activity on social networks, but will that be enough? With it becoming more common for college admissions officers to check applicant’s online profiles, we need to be sure we are setting our children up to be judged as persons of character via their online lives. Will HR departments reviewing potential employee’s online activity, what your social media savvy tween does today can stay with them well into their future.
Preparing your tween to be a good digital citizen online is as important as shaping their character offline. Is your tween a good digital citizen?
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This blog contributed to by Hay There Social Media team member Sheri Watkins.