We want our kids to be on their best behavior. At an early age, we teach them the value of respecting other people’s views, beliefs, and privacy. However, the challenge of every parent today is discussing with their children about their online behavior. Sometimes, parents feel that they’re not tech-savvy enough to teach their kids about digital literacy. This may lead to children making unethical choices online.

Good online behavior is one of the important pillars of digital citizenship. We can help our kids make better online choices by becoming their moral compass online. This article serves as a guide for parents on how to teach their kids the value of good online behavior.

Become a role model for respecting people’s privacy

Parents are their kids’ moral compass online, they should become role models for respecting people’s privacy. Children can learn from their parents’ online habits when it comes to sharing and posting videos, comments or pictures. Teach your child to think how their friends, siblings or relatives would feel if they post a picture or video of them. Did they ask permission before sharing them? Would your child’s friend be okay if his or her picture is shared online? What if the picture of a video is seen by their friend’s teacher, relatives or parents? Personal privacy should always be treated with respect. As parents, it is our duty to remind our children of its importance.

The internet is not a “Free-for-All” marketplace

Respecting people’s online property is important. Most people, especially children, think that what they see online is free. They sometimes treat the Internet as a marketplace where they can download music, movies, games, and pictures for free. Not everything they see online is free. Teach your child to understand why they need to ask for permission from the owner. There are some creators who give their content for free but you need to give them credit. Your child should also understand why some creators charge fees for their content. These people, especially artists, earn from their art, songs, or online performance. Downloading content illegally deprives them of their earnings. Remind your child that copying online content is stealing. Ask them, “How would you feel if someone stole your work or idea”?

Think twice before clicking the Post, Send or Like button

Empathy is trigged by a person’s facial expression, the tone of his or her voice, and body language. However, when you’re talking to someone online, it’s hard to empathize. This is one of the main reasons why most kids are either cyber bullied or engage in online arguments. Parents should remind their children to think twice before they click. Their comments or the pictures they share online could offend other people. Teach them to stay calm when they see comments affecting them emotionally. Online pranks, trolling, and griefing should be avoided. If face with these situations, teach your kids to help resolve arguments or ask help from you or their teachers. Strong and hurtful words can inflict serious emotional harm.

Good online behavior starts at home. It’s one of the pillars of online safety which parents need to teach their children. If we want our kids to become better online citizens, let’s teach them to make ethical choices online.

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