Today is Safer Internet Day (SID2014) across the world. It started as an initiative in the UK but is fast gaining momentum in other parts of the world. The world is a lot smaller now so it only figures that we can spread the world via the very medium that we are trying to make safer. I love that the focus of Safer Internet Day this year is creating a better internet together by embracing the positive aspects of online interactions. I truly believe that we have a far better chance of helping our kids stay safe online if we appreciate and understand the online space and enjoy it with them. Really get to know how, why and where our kids are hanging out online. To do that we have to stop with the negative thinking. Stop seeing it as the enemy. Sure it is hard work. It can be downright scary. There are horror stories daily. But if our kids know that we ‘get it’, that we know the many great things they can do, then we have a far greater chance of them relying on us for their information and support.
So remind your kids of the many creative things they can do. Encourage them to edit photos and play with effects. Encourage them to make short films. Encourage them to write blogs or songs or play with music apps. Talk about the many positive outcomes that have come from online interactions. Look at how social media has raised awareness for a cause.
And most of all remind them to be kind. Show them acts of kindness online. Talk to them about how words are interpreted online without tone of voice or context. Talk to them about walking away from online confrontations. Role model good behaviour online. Talk to them about being a positive bystander and nuture real empathy.