It’s not easy being a kid today. Having grown up before the advent of cell phones, omnipresent cameras, texting and a hyper-connectivity to friends, families and strangers worldwide, I can’t really say which aspects of the digital age would have been a problem for me as a teenager. But, no doubt, I would have struggled with it and made a few mistakes along the way. All a part of growing up, right? Except today, a social media misstep can get a teen kicked out of school or thrown off a team. In some cases, a bad judgement can result in loosing acceptance to a college or being denied a job opportunity, even years after the fact. Learning the hard way in the digital age can have a lifetime of regrets. We need to teach our kids to articulate their rules for engagement in the online world to friends, followers and family. The New Yorker Magazine recently took a humorous stab at this. Help your kids define how they will keep themselves safe and how they will engage with others online. Share this blog post with them!

A Message For All Digital Natives….In free societies, we are familiar with the rights we enjoy: things like freedom of religion and freedom of speech. As a young person living in your parent’s home and under their rules, you have a different version of rights that are connected to parental expectations about your behavior. Additionally, there are expectations on how you will behave in school. Yet, you were born into a world surrounded in every possible way by technology. The places you can go, the people you can meet — and yes, the trouble you can get into, all from the safety of your own home are limitless. That’s a lot of responsibility and sometimes it’s not that easy to make the right choice or understand potential consequences behind a screen. There is a lot of seemingly grey area to navigate.

Truth is, before you know it, you will be venturing out on your own. And with that freedom comes all of your rights AND the responsibilities of independent living. As your parents and teachers, we would be doing you a disservice to not prepare you for the complexities of life – in this case the complexities of making smart decisions online.

Create your own Digital Bill of Rights and share the results in your profiles so others know how you expect to be treated, and in turn, how you will treat others.

Use your cyber super powers for good. You got this. You make your own rules. You are a #cyberhero.

Savvy Cyber Kids educates and empowers digital citizens, from parents and grandparents, to teachers and students. Sign up for our free resources to help you navigate today’s digital world with cyber ethics. See more cyber safety and cyber ethics blogs produced exclusively for EarthLink. Looking for a social media parental control? Try a 30-day free trial of Bark. If you sign up after your trial, Bark donates 25% of your monthly fee to Savvy Cyber Kids.

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