Teaching online etiquettes to children
In India, school-goers–as young as those in Class 5 or Class 6– go online to browse various social networking sites. So, teaching your child online etiquette and safety is vital. Let your little techie be popular online but for the right reasons.
- Privacy settings. She needs to know how to manage her profile on any social networking site. Get them through the privacy options as soon as they sign up for facebook or any other social networking space. It’s best if she uses a profile picture of something else other than herself – it could be a landscape picture or any other thing. This way, every person who visits her profile won’t be able to see her – it ensures privacy. Adults can filter out friend requests with good discretion and children may lack that.
- Choose a false name. She does not have to use her real name. Having a fancy false name will protect her identity. However, the downside of this is that children think they can become less accountable to you when they begin to interact online anonymously. So, tell her that she is equally responsible for what she writes online, whether it is under her real name or under a fancy false name. She has to own up her posts.
- You can write only those things online you can say in person. Social media site users tend to think that they can get away with saying those things online that they can’t say to someone’s face. Discourage this attitude in your child right at the beginning. Nip it in the bud.
- Don’t get into virtual war of words. A healthy debate is alright. But things can often turn nasty online, with people writing angry and offensive comments. Your child should understand when to excuse herself from a heated conversation.
- Finally, don’t overdo facebook or any other social media site. Social networks, instant messaging, e-mailing and others make it easy for children to keep in touch and communicate with lots of people. But if you think it is bordering on addiction or is making your child waste time, then it’s better for you to advise her to have a time limit every time she logs on. After the allocated time is over, she is required to go offline.
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