Teens & Screens Part 3: Who Sees What Online

The following is the third in a three-part series on how to help safely navigate the world of social media with your kids from Sue Scheff, a mother, author, parent advocate, and expert in internet safety education.

Summer camp is not only a time to meet new friends and people, your children will have memories and experiences for a lifetime.  Many will want to capture them in photos and videos – especially in today’s digital world.

Sharing your summer experiences with friends and family is expected, however when it comes to the World Wide Web, precautions need to be taken.

Over-sharing is a common mistake that many people of all ages make on social media.

Prior to posting videos, talk to your child about things they need to consider before posting each photo and video:

  • Setting-up a private group for their camp group viewing only
  • Double checking their privacy settings
  • Thinking about who is in the photos/videos?  Will they mind their picture on a social media site?
  • Sharing selectively
  • Creating an online photo album entitled 2014 summer camp

The Teens and Screens survey revealed that many young people are still over-sharing personal information.  This is a very serious concern that parents need to discuss with their tweens and teens.  For example:

  • 50% posted their email address
  • 30% posted their phone number
  • 14% (which is 14% too many) posted their home address

Although 77% said they understand that what is posted online is public and permanent, they are still risking their keystrokes by sharing personal information.

Listen up, 80% of teens and tweens have had conversations with their parents about online safety.

So where are we losing cyber-ground?

We have to lead by example. 

Studies have revealed that parents are the number one influence on their children.  You may think they aren’t listening to you; they are and more importantly they are watching you.

Many parents are over-sharing.

As parents monitor their children online, kids are snooping on their parents – virtually. Have you thought before posting your pictures and comments?

What some parents share online:

  • Party pictures that you would caution your kid’s not to post
  • Swimsuit pictures that may not be appropriate for public viewing
  • Personal family conflicts that could be embarrassing to your child
  • Online contention with a friend (when threads turn ugly, and a parent engages in it)
  • Mixed messages or quotes such as, “If Box Tops for Education were on wine labels, my kid’s school would be rich!”
  • Sexual innuendos, profanity and content that simply is not what parents should be modeling as digital behavior
  • Dating escapades of single parents

Using the excuse that you are an adult is not good enough. First and foremost, you are a parent.  Your keystrokes matter.  Your actions speak louder than words.  Watch this important video:

Raising smart cyber-citizens start with parents.  As I’ve said before, digital citizenship is a priority in today’s cyber-world.  It will determine your child’s future, from their college to their employment and possibly their relationships.

For a final thought, keep in mind, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Takeaway tips:

  • Clean-up your friends list on your social networking sites
  • Keep an open digital dialogue open with your child
  • Less is more. If a photo seems questionable, don’t risk it. The 15-minutes of views is not worth years of humiliation – convey this to your child and remember it for yourself
  • Think about how your children will view what you post before you post it

Posted on August 27, 2014

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