What should you I advise my child to do if she sees someone posting inappropriate messages, pictures or content?
During middle school, social relationships start to become primary for our children. They want to be connected on screens and away from screens (though that is a little more challenging right now) and want to start building autonomy and agency in their lives and decisions. However, they still really need us. They need mentors and guides. They need boundaries and expectations. They need a lot of opportunities for trying and learning. They will see (use, share, say) inappropriate content at some point. So the discussion isn’t just about “what if” and more about “when”. How have we prepared them for this reality of life online?
One key component - I call it the seatbelt of digital parenting - is to be an Askable Adult. A child or teen who has one trusted adult to talk to, process and learn from in their lives is set up for healthier social and emotional development and experiences online. Being an Askable Adult is an important job.
Here are four tools to becoming a good Askable Adult.
Show me. Tell me. Teach me.
Even if I don’t like it, I can handle it.
I understand. I can relate. I have felt that way too.
You are not alone.
Your child's relationship to you is critical in digital health & well-being. When I feel overwhelmed by tech, this is what helps me center myself & regain my confidence. We can teach our values, boundaries & expectations while allowing our child to have positive experiences online - even when online isn't always perfect.