Parenting today is all about teaching our kids about the basic principles of digital citizenship. Our digital natives are growing up tech-savvy and the Internet has become the billboard for their behavior. Brendon Barber, a public speaker and Leadership Development Coordinator, believes that “kids today are the first generation to have text messaging in their pockets and social media at their fingertips.” People are paying attention to their actions online and parents should encourage their kids to use the Internet to help others.
Thanksgiving is the best time to teach your children to show online kindness. Here are some tips on how you can raise your kid to be kind online.
Be their model of kindness
Our ethics and values are manifested through our actions. If they see us engaging in online arguments or belittle others because of their beliefs, our kids will see these as ethical values. Be your child’s model of kindness by assessing your own ethics. Do you practice courteous behavior online? Are you sharing false information on social media? Do you engage in arguments with friends on status messages or tweets? Becoming a good mentor and role model means acknowledging our own faults. We sometimes need to listen to our kids and respect their points of view. Always practice fairness, genuine care for others, and honesty with your children.
Avoid giving into their wants
Raise your child to be charitable by not giving into their wants. Explain to them that you can’t buy everything they want. This will teach them to become thankful for what they have, develop self-control, and learn patience. Charitable children are kind children who empathize with their online and real-world friends. Don’t spoil your kids to teach them to be kind.
Remind them to always say “thank you”
Rabbi Harold Kushner believes that “When you are kind to others it not only changes you, it changes the world.” Saying “thank you” is the easiest way to change the world for the better. Remind your child to show their appreciation for a Facebook like on his or her status message. He or she can also compose an e-card to express his or her thanks. Your kid can also return the favor by posting good comments on his or her friend’s photo or status update. A simple “thank you” can uplift a person’s feelings.
Teach them the importance of “holding their tongues”
If they don’t have anything good to say online, they should learn to hold their tongues. Posting negative opinions will online result to arguments or cyber bullying. If your child’s friend wants an opinion about a certain school project, and he or she doesn’t like it, teach him or her to find something good about it. He or she can comment the colors or materials used, which made it an amazing piece. You child should also practice encouraging friends who aren’t good in sports, art or Mathematics. Praise them for their efforts and become their cheerleaders. Saying kind things will make a friend feel good about themselves.
Kindness shouldn’t be forgotten in the digital age. It’s time that we encourage our kids to be ambassadors of online kindness. This Thanksgiving, teach them to empathize and be grateful for the little things they have.
For more online safety tips, please visit the MomSecure blog. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!