Have you taught your kids how to be respectful online?
It’s not an easy task. There are no hard, fast rules. But learning how to be respectful online is very important, especially for children because of the dangers with information that is often shared.
Kids today are having more and more computer time. Whether it’s for school projects, homework. Or just to hang out and connect with friends. This time requires a line of respect kids need to be aware of, and it’s our responsibility as parents to teach them.
Our youngest son uses computers at school and at home. He goes to computer lab three days a week where he has learned how to use email and documents for assignments. He has learned how to manipulate photos, draw graphs, and even how to search for information from the Internet.
But when it came to understanding there has to be a certain respect online for both himself and those he chooses to engage with. He knew nothing which I found gravely surprising.
Why Kids Need To Have Respect While Online
I read an article about a week ago concerning this mother suing her child’s teacher because of comments made online about her child by his teacher deemed to be inappropriate. The teacher in question didn’t share this student’s name only his initials, but it was clear whom she was talking about.
“I’m fairly convinced that one of my students may be the evolutionary link between orangutans and humans.”
I don’t know about you but I’m disgusted this comment was even made. Yes, it was on the teacher’s personal FB account but that doesn’t matter. It was extremely inappropriate and disrespectful, not only to her student but his family and friends.
We teach kids to be respectful in life toward their peers and adults. This should include having respect online for both themselves and others. Here are the things Kids should know when being online.
How to have respect for themselves while being online by not sharing intimate photos, information, or anything that can be deemed inappropriate.
Information that will follow them and do harm both personally and professionally in their lives, giving others a reason to use it against them.
Respect toward others while being online by not sharing rude or vulgar comments, photos or personal information, of others without their permission.
Doing anything to make someone feel bad about themselves, bullying, making fun of, or sharing opinions in such a way it is considered an attack.
Giving out any information, especially to someone they do not know.
Knowing this information both protects and teaches kids how to behave the right way while being online. A way that won’t cause them or anyone else harm.
Of course, this teacher’s comments went viral as almost everything does. Once something is online, it’s hard to get rid of it which is sad. It’s like a blueprint or stamp that follows you wherever you go.
I shared the comments with my son. Not to bash the teacher because I’ve always taught my kids to have respect for elders. But I have dealt with a teacher like this myself.
I want my son to know that what we say online, how we represent ourselves, not only affects who we are but our family as well. Kids are never too young to learn how to be respectful online with what they say or how they say it.
The teacher removed their comments but only after several people liked and shared and read them. Like I said, once something is online it can follow you around like gum on the bottom of your shoe you can’t scrape off.
When Is It Crossing The Line When Sharing Our Feelings Online?
Like this teacher, we are all human and make mistakes. We’ve all put our foot in our mouths (so to speak). I’ve downright shoved a boot down my throat getting into heated discussions with online users. But life is hard enough without us tearing someone down. Being mean, hurtful and using those kinds of words is not the right way to teach our kids how to be respectful online.
Kids need to learn that respect is power and that we should treasure ourselves and other people, even those we don’t like because life is too short to become mean and nasty. And most of all we need to think before we speak.