Online identity is the way we choose to portray ourselves online. Now it should be a simple thing, however, the way we are offline isn’t always the way we are online.
Online identity allows us to showcase edited versions of our lives, highlighting features that we feel others value.
So, when posting about an amazing holiday, for example, our posts reflect not only what's important to us but what we believe others expect from us.
Now having an online identity can be liberating as it encourages self-expression and allows us to connect with other people.
However, it can create a lot of pressure.
Kids can hide aspects of who they are or to try and live up to certain expectations in order to feel more accepted and this can be detrimental to their own sense of self worth and can impact things like body image and self esteem.
Parents should allow their child to express themselves online, however, it’s important we offer support to help them navigate this.
There are a few ways you can do this:
Firstly, start a positive conversation around online identity.
Have regular check ins and discuss what your child's online identity means to them and how they feel it reflects who they really are.
Secondly it’s important to speak about how and who they share their lives with online making sure to touch on what they should and shouldn't share by discussing issues around safety and privacy.
Thirdly, Help them think critically about how online and offline influences can impact how they see themselves and the world around them.
Get them to think about the intentions behind what people are sharing on online. Your child’s online identity is a self-expression of who they are and often it evolves and changes over time.
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