When it comes to navigating our digital environment, youth are often times the experts. And admit it—you’re kind of impressed watching your child gambol through the Web, skimming through posts on Facebook, thumbing over Instagram photos, texting friends about weekend plans, all while managing to watch their favorite series on Netflix.
This is their turf.
But just because youth have conquered the roadways of the Internet doesn’t mean that it should necessarily be free reign.
Be a netizen. That’s a fancy word….now what does it mean? A netizen is an Internet citizen who uses the Internet in responsible and socially productive ways.
And of course, a netizen always practices netiquette! Did I just make that word up? Actually, no. Netiquette is defined as a set of rules for acceptable online behavior. Similarly, online ethics focuses on the acceptable use of online resources in an online social environment (ikeepsafe.org).
The values and standards that we live by in society apply also to the Internet. Similar to how things like bullying, harassment, theft, stalking and child exploitation are not acceptable offline, they’re not acceptable online either.
Conversely, the same ethical principles that we promote as parents should exist online. Teach your child to be kind and accepting of others. The Internet allows for connectivity with cultures vastly different from our own. Youth should be respectful of another person’s traditions and values, though they may differ from their own.
Sit down with your child and have the talk about what it means to be a responsible netizen and how to use the Internet ethically. Consider what it means to be respected and how to respect others. Talk about privacy, honesty and integrity while online. By doing so, you empower your child with the tools necessary to be an upstanding digital citizen.
Ethical use of the Internet is just one aspect of many when it comes to responsible technology use. To give parents a leg up in teaching their children how to be ethical online, the Internet Keep Safe Coalition (iKeepSafe) has created the BEaPRO™ Parent app.
BEaPRO™ Parent is an online-safety app developed with the expertise of attorneys, pediatricians, child psychiatrists, psychologists, cybercrime researchers, media literacy specialists, and school counselors, in order to help parents cultivate healthy Internet habits for their children. The BEaPRO™ index refers to the six pillars necessary in becoming a successful digital citizen: Balance, Ethical Use, Privacy, Reputation, Relationships, and Online Security.
The BEaPRO™ Parent app assesses the specific needs of the users in your household, then provides you with the individualized resources you will need to help your child improve his/her technology health and safety.
BEaPRO™ launches on October 14, 2013 for android. Learn more about how to BEaPRO™ Parent at http://www.ikeepsafe.org/beaproparent.
Cover image courtesy of Flickr.