Navigating the online world for young people can be daunting and for parents trying to help them, it can feel even more so!
In the first instance, what is key is to encourage your child or teen to take a beat, pause and really think about the things they post online but also the things that they like and share.
In some cases, the pain that is caused to other young people is hidden rather than explicit so the simple act of posting a picture that makes someone feel excluded can cause unintended upset. It’s also important to talk to your child about seeing the bigger picture. When it comes to managing emotions kids are not as well developed as adults and as such, they are more inclined to act emotionally and impulsively.
Encouraging them to stand back and gain a better perspective on the situation before they react to is key. Invite them to speak to you or someone close about their feelings before engaging in a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction to the situation.
Social networking sites vary considerably in what their community guidelines are so, ask your child if they are aware of these guidelines. Discuss them in a ‘real world’ manner ensuring they understand why they are there, who they are protecting and why it important to do so.
Finally and very importantly stay informed and connect with your child regularly. It may be the case that these are ‘digital world’ problems but at the basis of all this technology lie human feelings and learning how to navigate these and teaching your children to do so is a parenting task that’s been around forever.