Social Media Etiquette for Kids -- The Unwritten Rules

It's hard to imagine that 20 years ago we communicated so differently than we do today. We might as well have been cavemen writing on the walls according to our children, right? But today, communicating on social media is the norm. As we learn to adapt to this new way of communicating, we want to be sure that we are giving our kids the right tools and teaching them proper etiquette. Here are a few reminders to share with your children as they head back to school this month.

Think before you post. When someone posts something that offends you, don't react, instead take time to think about it. After 24 hours, you might feel differently or choose to respond instead of react in anger...maybe even in person.

No bullying. Always be kind online. It's really that simple, isn't it? If you want people to be nice to you, be nice to them.

Don't post excessively. I once heard, you have 2 eyes and one mouth for a reason -- listen more than you talk. The same rule applies to social media. You may have great pictures, but remember, not everyone wants to see 10 pictures of your OOTD (outfit of the day).

Don't share someone else's pictures or personal information without asking. You may not be shy but not everyone may share your view on privacy. Posting pictures of someone without their permission and/or tagging them can feel like a violation of privacy if it's not a picture they want shared with a lot of people. Not sure? Just ask them.

Ask yourself 'why' you're posting. Often time people share things on social media platforms to get attention. If you're having a hard time and need someone to talk to, that's ok, perhaps there's a better way to meet your needs. For instance, if you "vent" about something that happened to you at school, people may wonder why you're sharing with everyone on your 'friends' list. Are all these people really your 'friends' or should you be talking to people who truly care-you know your close friends in real life or your family.

Keep a sense of privacy. Let's face it, social media is deceiving. When you share things, you feel as if you are talking to only a few people -- in your head you might even just picture a group of people that you think will be reading, however, you might forget how many people are really peeking into your private life. Try this. Picture all the people on our friends list in an audience and you're on a stage, would you divulge that information to everyone in the room or would you choose to talk to a few people instead?

Teaching our children proper social media etiquette and privacy is invaluable. However, data breaches, hacks, and other digital threats lie outside of our control. Fortunately, there are various tools available to help protect ourselves and our children while online, including a VPN, a password manager, and an anti-virus program.

It's important to remember that things posted on social media can easily be misinterpreted. Without understanding body language, tone of voice, or eye contact, someone can easily get confused or offended about a message you're trying to get across.

Bio: Toni Schmidt is a single mom to 2 young girls leading the way in the unchartered territories of digital parenting. Toni is the Social Media Manager for Net Nanny and has been featured on Huffington Post and NBC Philadelphia.  

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