By Common Sense Media
You don't have to be an expert on texting, Instagram, Minecraft -- or whatever else your kids are into -- to have The Talk. Start by reading up on what's going on in your kids' world (for younger kids and older kids). Ask them to show you what they like online, and why. Be sure to listen. Then, express a few basic expectations, with the understanding that this isn't a one-and-done kind of chat. Good luck (you'll be fine)!
Here are the five basics to cover during The Talk:
Try to instill a sense of empathy in your kids. Remember: there's someone else on the other side of the screen.
- Younger kids: Treat others like you want to be treated -- and always follow a website's rules for behavior. Ask: How do you see other kids behaving online? What are some nice things you've seen other kids do?
KEEP PRIVATE THINGS PRIVATE.
Talk about what's OK for kids to share online and what's not.
- Younger kids: Get kids to think about safety without scaring them. Don't share your name, address, school, age, etc. Ask: Why don't we want strangers to know certain things about us or our family?
DON'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU SEE.
Just because it's online doesn't make it true. Not everybody is who they say they are.
- Younger kids: Teach kids to be detectives. Ask: How can you tell whether something is true online? What are some signs that something might not be true?
Think before you post. Use privacy settings.
- Younger kids: Help kids understand what sharing something online means. Ask: Who can see what you're doing or saying online?
STAND UP FOR OTHERS.
If someone's getting bullied or picked on, speak up, report it, or reach out.
- Younger kids: Make sure kids know they can come to you for help. Teach them how to flag misbehavior. Ask: What would you do if you saw someone being mean online or in a game?
Common Sense Media is an independent nonprofit organization offering unbiased ratings and trusted advice to help families make smart media and technology choices. Check out our ratings and recommendations at www.commonsense.org