Teaching About Trust in a Social Media World
It is distressing that people trust cyberspace with so much that is really personal. How do we teach our children that faceless cyberspace should not be trusted with their most intimate thoughts and pictures? I think that just as we have addressed dangers to our children such as speaking to strangers & bullying, we need to address their social media safety in an organized and purposeful way. It is too easy to trust the faceless and our children are growing up with the ability to communicate without ever having to look at anyone. We need to teach this generation that their thoughts, feelings and their bodies are too valuable to share with just anyone.
Our children need to consider who they can trust in a way that we didn't need to years ago. As parents and educators, we need to tell our children that:
- If they would not stand in the middle of a room and say what they are typing on social media, then they shouldn't type it.
- If they would not pass a picture around a group of strangers, then it shouldn't be posted.
We cannot just say it. We have to do it ourselves. We are the role models for their behavior. Would you stand in the middle of a crowd and say the things you post? Would you show a picture of your children to strangers and tell them their names? Though we can post pictures and designate who can see them, we cannot prevent others from taking pictures of our pictures and sharing them. The less we value our children’s privacy, the less they will value their own. We need to consider if our actions invade the privacy of the very young before they even have a say and if we are demonstrating to our children that the entire world can be trusted.
Perhaps we need a new word for "friend" and a new word for "trust." We need a new word for this new world so our children know the difference between an internet friend and a real friend, internet trust and real trust.
Ask your questions about parenting & education, read more articles and learn about workshops for parents and early childhood professionals at www.helpingkidsachieve.com.
Cindy Terebush, Early Education Consultant & Speaker